The Mutual Health Service How to decentralise the NHS

The Mutual Health Service
How to decentralise the NHS
Institute of Directors and New Economics Foundation
by Ruth Lea and Ed Mayo
This paper is written as a concept paper for those concerned with health policy and the future of the National Health
Service (NHS). It is a collaboration that draws on work over recent years by the Institute of Directors (IoD) on economic
and organisational issues in healthcare and the New Economics Foundation (NEF) on innovations in participation and
social enterprise.1
We aim to present and to illustrate the previously overlooked approach of mutuality in healthcare as an alternative to
state-oriented centralisation or market-oriented privatisation. The report covers issues of effective mutual organisation
and engendering a new relationship between healthcare patient and provider. It does not attempt to address all issues and
challenges facing the NHS, from innovations in medical treatment through to new needs around staff training.
The report focuses primarily on the NHS as it is run in England. However, although there are important structural and
some other differences with the NHS in other parts of the UK, we feel that this does not detract from the main points of
our case throughout.
The Promise of Decentralisation
1.1 National or Mutual – What’s in a Name?
1.2 The Failure of Command and Control
1.3 The New Localism
Mutual Trends
The Case for Mutuality in the NHS
3.1 Systems Solutions
3.2 The Case for Mutuality
3.3 The Mutual Health Service Action Plan
New Mutuality: the patient role?
5.1 A Public Sense of Ownership
5.2 Public Health
5.3 The Other Resource –Time
5.4 The Importance of Participation
Vision and Conclusion
Foundation Trusts: building blocks of a Mutual
Health Service
4.1 Flying Free
4.2 Do We Need a New Legal Form?
About the authors
Ruth Lea is currently Head of the Policy Unit at the Institute of Directors (IoD). She has served on many committees and
bodies including the Nurses Pay Review Body and is currently on the University of London Council. She has written
many policy papers including "Healthcare in the UK: the need for reform" (IoD, 2000). An economist and statistician by
training, she spent 16 years in the Civil Service (including the Treasury and the DTI), was Chief Economist at Mitsubishi
Bank, Chief UK Economist at Lehmans and Economics Editor at ITN.
Ed Mayo is Executive Director of the New Economics Foundation (NEF). He is a leading advocate of enterprise-led
regeneration, participation and mutuality. He is on the board of the Local Investment Fund, AccountAbility, Social
Investment Forum and, the world’s most popular portal on human rights, development and
environment. He is chair of the London Rebuilding Society, has advised the Treasury on enterprise and led the
development of the new Community Investment Tax Credit, designed to support inner city renewal.
The National Health Service cannot, or can no longer, be
understood as a single service organisation offering
healthcare in a uniform way across the nation.
Centralised models of public services can perform poorly
in terms of innovation, responsiveness and efficiency, so
the starting point for this report is that health policy faces
the challenge of effective decentralisation. However, the
record of the current government on health
decentralisation is patchy. NHS Trusts appear typically to
be answerable to as many as forty different agencies, a
number that is going up as an array of new health
agencies and layers comes into being.
The central issue facing healthcare today is arguably how
and whether decentralisation can be made to work. This
report explores the relevance of mutuality as a practical
organising principle for decentralisation.
This includes the far wider extension of the proposals for
‘Foundation Trusts’. Rather than see Foundation Trusts as
autonomous non-profit agencies, these should:
• become full, self-governing mutuals, operating in a
co-operative network of healthcare and related
public services;
4. creating a new Health Regulator, accountable to
parliament, and initiating an NHS Regulatory Review to
cut through the confused and ad hoc reporting and
lines of accountability required of NHS Trusts;
5. introducing a duty on Primary Care Trusts to treat
patients as partners in healthcare;
6. trialling a new system of public health incentives, to
reward investment in public health and
self-help initiatives;
7. the publication of annual social audits by all
NHS Trusts.
A non-profit, mutual health service can be more efficient
and appropriate at delivering health services than
for-profit private companies. A greater diversity of health
service provision will reduce health inequalities and raise
standards more effectively than the attempt to continue
to run a uniform, national service.
A mutual NHS, the report concludes, is an
inter-dependent NHS, that provides a re-working of its
founding spirit that wouldn’t be out of place in the
21st century.
• open up health services to comprehensive citizen
participation, helping to enable people to take greater
responsibility for their own health.
A long-term programme of building a mutual health
service will require institutional innovation and culture
change. In particular, mutuality should engender a ‘new
professionalism’ across the NHS. The first steps required
1. establishing a new legal model for a ‘public
interest company’;
2. opening-up Foundation Trust status to a first wave of
Primary Care Trusts and a wider range of NHS Trusts;
3. setting a democratic template for governance of
Foundation Trusts based on the involvement of
multiple stakeholders, including a new Governance
Quality Standard;
The Mutual Health Service
1 The Promise of Decentralisation
1.1 National or Mutual – What’s in a Name?
The great myth of the NHS is the myth of its name – that
it is a single, primarily national, service. In reality, the
NHS has been in continual flux since its creation in 1948,
with a complex interplay between national and local level
and different elements of healthcare.
Successive governments of all political hues have
organised and reorganised the NHS. Health authorities
have come and gone, with various boundaries from time
to time. Margaret Thatcher’s Conservative Government
developed the “purchaser-provider split”, between
healthcare commissioning and the delivery of healthcare
services, only for part of the resulting system, GP
(general medical practitioner) fundholding, to be
abolished with the advent of a Labour Government.2 And
while the NHS appeared to be set up as a centralised
system in 1948, it was only from 1997 that explicit central
standards and mechanisms for inspection came
into force.
Nevertheless, all governments seem to have acted as if
the myth were true, that ultimately the State should plan,
direct and control the NHS, so that it can act in the best
interests of all. It is this thesis that we wish to challenge,
setting out practical proposals for what might be
characterised as a ‘Mutual Health Service’, based on a
more decentralised and diverse system of non-profit
providers, combining the entrepreneurialism of the
private sector with the ethos and values of the
public sector.
With around one million workers, the largest workforce in
the world except perhaps the Chinese Army and the
Indian Railways, and a diverse collection of hospitals and
primary care providers, the NHS is truly unmanageable
as a single organisation. It can only operate in reality as a
complex and adaptive system. But, while there is
increasing recognition of the case for decentralisation,
including most recently the King’s Fund3, there has been
less thought about the nature of the organisations that
operate within the system, the way they are led,
governed, resourced and incentivised, the way that they
inter-relate with each other and, above all, the people
they are designed to serve.
or political fashion, they reflect a deeper issue – which is
about individual responsibility and the role of the state.
On its own the health service – any health service –
cannot create either a healthy nation or healthy
individuals. This can only be achieved by the active
involvement of people themselves. After all, one of the
most significant wasted resources in the NHS is time.
This is not the hours of NHS workers but the time of
individual citizens, who could be enabled to take more
responsibility for their own healthcare.
The mutuality in health that we explore represents a
re-engineering of the NHS away from paternalism to find
appropriate ways to share responsibility and make the
most of the willingness and desire of individual citizens
to improve their own health.
1.2 The Failure of Command and Control
It is now widely acknowledged by Government, many
clinicians and others, that the NHS is over-centralised and
predominantly run as a top-down bureaucracy. New
Labour, in its 1997 General Election Manifesto, promised
to move away from unresponsive and heavily centralised
monolithic government structures.4 But the record to date
is unconvincing. The management of the NHS still falls
too easily into the mindset of Sidney Webb – the early
Fabian champion of the central state and of ‘command
and control’.
A strategic consultancy review in 2000 from the Virgin
Group, commissioned by the Secretary of State for
Health, referred to the “dead hand of bureaucracy stifling
[NHS] staff who had lost pride in their jobs”.5 The Virgin
report blamed over-centralised bureaucracy for the poor
state of too many dirty hospital wards, chaotic
arrangements for booking treatments and a lack of
consideration for patients.6
Because poor health outcomes in the UK are not simply a
product of poor NHS management, inadequate funding
Another commentator put it as starkly as, “people are
dying while the health service is being distorted by
targets”.7 This is not merely about the limitations of the
process-oriented (former) waiting list target, but a
reflection of the fact that asking people working in huge
bureaucratic organisations to focus on targets very likely
produces an effect of managing the statistics rather than
making improvements. In the old saying quoted by David
The Mutual Health Service
1 The Promise of Decentralisation
Boyle of NEF in his book The Tyranny of Numbers, ‘you
don’t make sheep fatter by weighing them.’8
recommendations of Derek Wanless in his review of
future health spending needs.14
In the private sector, there is increasing recognition of the
failings of command and control structures. US
management writer, W. Edwards Deming estimated that
85% of corporate failures arise from bad systems, not bad
workers.9 In hierarchical organisations, Australian
governance expert Shann Turnbull estimates that a
remarkable 98% of information passed from the bottom
to the top is missing or incorrect.10 The private sector has
learned the lesson that management is, in part, about
institutional renewal. As a result, business has flattened
its hierarchies and opened itself up to more dynamic and
fluid ways of organising. In a similar way, the ‘managerial
state’ favoured by the public sector now needs to open
up to more decentralised and participative models
of operation.
There is planned to be a 7.4 per cent average annual real
term growth in UK-wide NHS spending for each of the
next five years. This would raise the total spending up to
£72.1 billion in 2002-2003 and £87.2 billion in 2004-2005,
rising to £105.6 billion in 2007-2008. NHS spending as a
share of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) would then have
gone from 6.6 per cent in 2002-2003 to 7.5 per cent in
2005-2006 and 8.2 per cent by 2007-2008. The figures for
total spending on healthcare (NHS plus the private,
independent, sector) are: 7.7 per cent of GDP in
2002-2003, rising to 8.7 per cent in 2005-2006 and 9.4 per
cent by 2007-2008.15
Box 1
Consensus on the Problem
“ Try to impose central controls on this [the
NHS], and … you fail, exacerbating the very
ailments you are trying to cure; and you
c reate huge counterproductive frustration
among professionals who need not
management but excellent administration.”
Simon Caulkin, The Observer.11
"We believe it is time to move beyond the
1940s monolithic, top-down, centralised NHS
towards a devolved health service, offering
wider choice and diversity ..." 12
Rt. Hon. Alan Milburn MP, Secretary of State for
Health, April 2002.
“The NHS cannot be run from Whitehall.”
The NHS Plan presented to Parliament by the
Secretary of State for Health, July 2000.13
Productivity will have to increase, Wanless stressed, as
the current use of information & communitcation
technology (ICT) in the NHS is extremely poor. There is
scope for better management and less bureaucracy,
he added.16
The Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown,
promised that the extra funds would be matched by
reform and a new system of accountability. There is to be
a new independent audit system, the Commission for
Healthcare Audit and Inspection (CHAI) reporting to
Parliament annually on how the extra money is being
spent and what the result of the spending has been.
Alongside these reforms, two other key innovations are
underway. The first is the rise of Primary Care Trusts
(PCTs). From 1 April 2002, 302 PCTs covering all parts of
England were set up to control healthcare locally. Their
performance and standards are monitored by 28 new
Strategic Health Authorities (SHAs). The new structure
replaced the NHS Executive, eight Regional Offices of the
Department of Health (DoH), 99 Health Authorities and
481 Primary Care Groups. In 1997 the former GP
fundholders controlled 15% of the NHS budget. At
present, the PCTs have been made responsible for around
50% cent of the NHS budget. Within two years they are
meant to control 75%.
1.3 The New Localism
New resources for the NHS have gone hand in hand with
the promise of decentralisation. In the 2002 Budget, the
UK Government announced an increase in NHS spending
on the lines of, but slightly higher than, the
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1 The Promise of Decentralisation
The second is the proposal for the best-performing NHS
Trusts providing secondary care to be able to elect to
gain ‘Foundation Trust’ status. In making this proposal,
the Secretary of State referred to our work, pointing out
that ‘ … organisations like the Institute of Directors
- … and … the Co-operative Movement – have been
examining the case for new forms of organisation
such as mutuals or public interest companies
within rather than outside the public services and
the NHS.’17
The overall model for NHS reform is characterised by Ed
Balls, Chief Economic Adviser to HM Treasury, as the
‘new localism’:
“ The Department of Health and the NHS Executive
a re the strategic centre, setting objectives and
shaping incentives. There is growing devolution of
money, multi-year budgets and flexibility down to
Primary Care Trusts and Hospital Trusts, with
money increasingly following patients. And there
will also be new, tough and streamlined audit and
inspection with two national regulators for health
and social services with an annual report t o
Parliament and local reporting.”18
The extent of Treasury commitment to localism was
tested in the public dispute between Gordon Brown and
Alan Milburn, before a compromise was struck on the
devolution of financial powers to NHS Foundation Trusts.
It is likely to be tested again. Decentralisation cannot
work if it is not accompanied by commensurate financial
powerful tool to influence health outcomes; Scotland trod
an intermediary path focussing on health service
outcomes and how the NHS should reach out to promote
health improvement. In Northern Ireland the integration
of health policy with the peace process makes it a
special case.
These reforms unquestionably move in the right
direction. Of course, there are qualifications. Some,
including the King’s Fund, have estimated that perhaps
40% of the Budget increase would be spent on increased
pay and prices within the NHS.22 Increases in National
Insurance Contributions in the financial year 2003-2004
will also effectively not add to NHS investment.
Compensation claims are up and proposals for a new law
on corporate manslaughter23 could also in principle have
a significant effect on NHS finances, but also governance
if Trusts as a whole or even individual directors on Trust
boards were to be held liable for manslaughter. (Although
the Government currently plans to exclude bodies such
as NHS Trusts from any new law, some of the debate has
highlighted the unfairness of any new regime that could
apply to the private but not the public sector.24)
But the weakness of the reforms is that they do not go
nearly far enough. The cultures, habits and systems of
centralisation are not ended by declarations. To take just
one example, the DoH has reduced the number of central
instructions to the NHS through Health Service Circulars.
In 1996 there were 298 circulars issued. In 2001 this was
reduced to 26, and in the first quarter of 2002, only five.25
Yet one Circular in 2001 is reported to have contained 429
performance indicators.
Devolution has also made its mark. Following the new
template for health service re-organisation in 199721, the
English NHS focused on health service outcomes and
market strategies; Wales boldly targeted health, not
service, outcomes and regarded the NHS as merely one
A more significant case study is NHS Trusts themselves.
When the first NHS Trusts started in December 1990, they
were intended to be fully self-governing. The legislation
stated clearly that these were now independent
organisations. And yet, in reality, NHS Trusts were soon
sucked back in, as if to orbit as dependent moons around
the weighty mass of Whitehall. With appointed boards,
extensive implicit direction from Whitehall and an army
of different agencies monitoring, setting policy and
planning and regulating them (Table 1), they were never
given sufficient chance to take up their promised
freedoms. From the array of organisations listed in Table
1, it appears that a typical NHS Trust may be answerable
to as many as forty different agencies, a number that is
growing rather than decreasing over time.
The Mutual Health Service
The NHS Plan (and equivalents in Scotland, Wales and
Northern Ireland) set out many commendable and
ambitious aspirations to create a “patient-focused” set of
health services. Trying to do this from the top down is
really quite a contradiction, but in the words of Nigel
Crisp, Chief Executive of the NHS, “what matters is
national standards with a diversity of providers, whether
NHS-run, charitable or private”.20
1 The Promise of Decentralisation
Table 1
Organisations with monitoring or regulatory roles in respect
of an NHS Trust
• Secretary of State
• General Medical Council
• Modernisation Board
• Medical Education Standards Board
• Department of Health
• National Clinical Assessment Authority
• NHS Logistics Authority
• Council for Professions Supplementary to
• NHS Purchasing and Supply Agency
• NHS Estates Agency
• Permanent Secretary & Chief Executive of the NHS
• Modernisation Agency
• Government Regional Offices
• NHS Appointments Commission
• NHS Information Authority
• NHS Litigation Authority
• Health Authorities
• Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority
• Medical Devices Agency
• Medicines Control Agency
• National Radiological Protection Board
• Public Health Laboratory Service
• Microbiological Research Authority
• National Blood Authority
• UK Transplants Support Services Authority
• Local Modernisation Boards
• Local Authority Scrutiny of NHS
• Independent Local Advisory Forum
• Patients’ Forum
• Primary Care Trusts
• Care Trusts
• Independent Reconfiguration Panel
• Audit Commission (District Audit)
• Commission for Health Improvement
• Health Service Commissioner
• National Institute for Clinical Excellence
• Audit Commission
• Royal colleges and specialist associations
• University/medical schools
The Mutual Health Service
1 The Promise of Decentralisation
The array and confusion of lines of accountability is
mirrored at staff level. Management within the NHS can
be pictured as a two-dimensional matrix, in which the
various professional groups make up one dimension and
the actual patients and other stakeholders make up the
other. Unfortunately, in the matrix there are very few
intersections that would be expected to occur if there
were genuine lines of management accountability and
responsibility. Thus nurses, health visitors and physicians
may have had their own channels of communication and
professional demarcations, which may or may not have
coincided with those who were supposed to have
management responsibility for the organisation.
three” (out of six) with regard to electronic patient
records. By the target date of April 2002, only 2% (five
hospitals) were reported to have reached this point. In
this case, the response has been to centralise ICT in
terms of a strategic programme. There is good sense in
doing this for standards and protocols to ensure that ICT
systems are truly interoperable. But at the same time,
previous governmental attempts at big ICT projects have
failed. ICT systems have to be adaptable over time, so
that even with an investment in central infrastructure, it is
good to foster local capacity. The moral is that the
tension between central and local is not one of crude
trade-offs, but of balance and complex interaction.
One experienced Health Service manager has reported of
isolated projects underway in parts of the NHS, about
which nobody seemed to care whether they were ever
completed. One newly formed NHS Trust is said to have
had its first senior management meeting no less than
eight full months after the Trust’s formation.
The NHS Plan reflects this insight, by establishing several
new quangos and other public bodies, in part to build the
local capacity for decentralisation to succeed. However,
the result appears to be further layers of bureaucracy
(absorbing both management time and some of the new
funding injection into the NHS). The opportunity cost to
the NHS of the present set-up of intra-NHS reporting
must now amount to hundreds of millions of pounds. At
the very least it diverts senior management time from
their main task.
By comparison with many organisations, many doctors
are not actually managed. Professor Karol Sikora,
formerly in the NHS as clinical director at the
Hammersmith Hospital, now working in the private
pharmaceutical sector, tells the tale of having had eight
consultants under his management when he was in the
NHS.26 He described them as unmanageable. “The chief
executive can’t tell them what to do, no one can …
In my company … if I’m told to get on a plane …
tomorro w, I go – that wouldn’t have happened in
the NHS”.
The paradox is that while the NHS overall has become
more centralised, NHS Trusts themselves are inverted
organisations with considerable control residing in
front-line professionals. This does not argue that
professionalism in the NHS should carry any less respect,
but as with law firms and other partnerships, such
respect does not have to come at the cost of
organisational management and efficiency. Innovation in
clinical practice is best supported and replicated if there
is effective management. But like many a state service,
the NHS has suffered from ‘producer capture’.
An illustration of poor management and of the
central/local dichotomy is in information and
communication technology (ICT) projects.27 In 1998, a
target was set for 35% of large hospitals to reach “level
The Mutual Health Service
There is now to be a Commission for Patient and Public
Involvement in Health (CPPIH), taking over the role of
Community Health Councils in England from the
beginning of 2003. This is intended to be an independent
national body for patients in England, made up of people
from local bodies, the NHS and the voluntary sector. But
CPPIH is to have a key role in appointing members to
lower-level bodies. What started as a worthwhile
approach may end up as further top-down dirigisme. It is
hardly an example of devolved autonomy.28
A further example of the frittering away of resources is
the move to give local authorities power of scrutiny and
overview of NHS Trusts from January 2003. As Donna
Bradshaw and Kieran Walshe argue in the Health Service
Journal "the scrutiny from local authorities will sit
alongside an increasingly complex array of other
bodies charged with regulating, inspecting or
overseeing what the NHS does".29 Local government
is meant to be able to scrutinise the NHS, at a time when
all too many local councils are themselves failing (in the
Government's own view) to deliver adequate services to
the public.
1 The Promise of Decentralisation
This will further dissipate public resources and
management time, especially as local councils will have
no actual authority over NHS bodies. As Dr Matt Muijen,
Director of the Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health puts it,
the concern is “whether the sprawling bureaucracy
of supra-structures will not merely allow but,
above all, empower innovative modernisation plans
in imaginative partnerships. The layers of
leadership – from ministers to the Department of
Health, regional offices for health and social care ,
SHAs, PCTs and Trust boards – weigh heavily on
local managers and clinicians. Then they have the
labyrinthine networks of modernisation,
inspection, regulation, professional and education
agencies.”30 Interestingly, and more recently, the
Government’s Better Regulation Task Force has
addressed the problem (not addressed at the NHS as
such) of overlapping accountabilities within the public
sector amidst a whole array of institutions and
concomitant reporting.31
The NHS has seen many a restructuring plan. Our
proposals are different. They are about setting free the
existing structures, which are settled and people want to
make work. Plus to do this on a voluntary basis, as parts
migrate to mutual status when they are ready and when
they choose, avoiding one-size fits all models and
learning what works.
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2 Mutual Trends
Our approach to decentralisation is that of mutuality. In
1830, the flannel weavers in Rochdale formed the
Rochdale Friendly Co-operative Society after a strike. It
started with subscriptions for sickness benefits before
moving on to a small library service and, in 1833, a co-op
shop. The initiative failed in 1835 after giving too much
credit to its members. But in 1843, after two years of
another strike, two original members persuaded starving
weavers to try again. They registered a new co-op in
October 1844 which began trading two months later. This
time, the co-op prospered, and with it came a new mass
international co-operative movement (See Box 2).
Box 2
What is a mutual?
There is no exclusive definition of mutuality. At its
most simple, mutuality is an institutionalised,
value-based model of reciprocity. But a mutual is
not a single legal form. Some general points are:
• A mutual is an enterprise owned by its members,
which provides a variety of services to its
members for their benefit.
• Mutuality may be used to describe mutual models
of ownership or decision-making, mutual
methods of doing business or simply a
mutual ethos.
• Historian Dr Bob James describes mutuality as
“a contractual arrangement, which may be
unspoken, between a group of people, as
few as two, wherein it is understood that no
member of the group stands in a superior
position to any other in terms of voting
power, ownership rights or
a c c rued benefits.”33
• Examples of mutuals include agricultural
co-operatives, building societies, banking mutuals
and credit unions, communications co-operatives
and co-operative Internet service providers,
consumer co-operatives, energy co-operatives,
fishing co-operatives, health provision and
insurance mutuals, housing co-operatives, mutual
insurers, tourism, and worker co-operatives.
• There are over 700 million members of such
organisations worldwide.34 In the UK the largest
sectors are in agriculture and consumer cooperation (the Co-op, which has an annual
turnover in retailing of some £10 billion, plus
banking and insurance assets of around £30
billion35). In other countries, other sectors are
more prominent, such as credit unions in North
America, and worker co-operatives in some other
parts of Europe.
The original idea of mutuality – in some sectors such as
with certain building societies and insurance
companies – has now been whittled down to nothing
more than an annual vote in some, and demutualisation
of many of them came as no surprise. But there is a new
wave of mutuality that is emerging, albeit on a small
scale so far. You can see it in the mutually-owned
community businesses, starting in Strathclyde in 1979
and growing from there to the range of social enterprises
– from informal voluntary groups to industrial and
provident societies – that have emerged, dedicated to
community benefit.32
In its 2002 Social Enterprise Strategy, the Department of
Trade and Industry has highlighted the remarkable
upsurge in competitive social enterprises – credit unions,
social firms, housing co-operatives, fair-trade and
ecological enterprises, managed workspaces, farmers’
markets, recycling initiatives, employment services,
community shops, arts ventures, social care co-operatives
and time banks.36 In health, friendly societies such as
Benenden Healthcare Society and Simplyhealth have long
offered competitive mutual healthcare, covering both the
funding and provision of healthcare.
Then there are the tenant-owned housing organisations
taking over local authority housing stock. Or the new
generation of community banks, such as the London
Rebuilding Society, that have meanwhile emerged to
finance the new community-based social enterprises.37
Or the range of mutuals that have taken over other
services from local authorities including leisure and
transport. These are a series of experiments and
initiatives that have attracted little publicity but could yet
signal a revolution.
The Mutual Health Service
The idea that social enterprises might run public services
– either as employee mutuals or stakeholder mutuals –
goes back to 1979, when social services in Ealing
Borough Council were deciding how to organise
transport for clients. Initially the new organisation was set
up as a voluntary organisation, with an ‘endowment’ of
four buses from the council. The team proved successful
at winning contracts from the social services department,
2 Mutual Trends
and the following year reconstituted itself as a mutual
industrial and provident society. One of its first steps was
to finance the purchase of four new buses.
In 1996, it set up ECT Recycling, which now offers a
diverse range of recycling services, including the first
ever paint exchange scheme. From a small non-profit
start, ECT has since diversified into a group comprising
four separate companies, employing over 200 staff and
providing recycling and community transport services for
eight local authorities – six in London and two outside. It
is the national pioneer in kerbside recycling and provides
direct services to over 425,000 households.38
Dr Johnston Birchall, at the University of Stirling and an
associate of NEF, is an academic working in the mutual
sphere. He has examined the contemporary case for
mutuality in a whole range of public services41, from
water and rail to local authority services. Clearly, the
various different models of mutual ownership and
participation are something that the NHS could afford to
learn from.
Something similar has occurred in Greenwich, where
Greenwich Leisure was converted from a local authority
department into a social enterprise in order to escape the
financial constraints imposed on local authorities.
The result was a highly successful enterprise, which has
increased the number of leisure facilities in Greenwich
from seven to eleven and trebled income in the last six
years to over £9 million. At the same time it has more
than halved the cost to the local authority for providing
the service – and won quality marks under Investors in
People, Charter Mark and ISO 9002.
One of the keys to Greenwich Leisure’s success is
structure. The creation of a separate enterprise, where
staff – now numbering 1,000 – have a say in governance
through a co-operative structure, has freed them up to act
more as entrepreneurs, and giving them a direct stake in
its success.
Greenwich Leisure has itself taken over the management
of five centres for the London Borough of Waltham
Forest. It has also helped to replicate itself in 13 other
local authority areas, from Bristol to Teesside. And
although the original version of the model placed a
premium on staff empowerment, user involvement is
now being examined.39
Rather than focusing simply on short-term funding, social
enterprises can aim to build a long-term business with a
clear focus on the good of their community. In many
cases, they have saved money for the public sector,
because they are able to generate increased income and
raise private finance, including grants and social
investment. They have also created an asset for the
benefit of their communities.40
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3 The Case for Mutuality in the NHS
3.1 Systems Solutions
Professor David Hunter of the University of Durham has
set out four ways of controlling the NHS – see Table 2.42
His preference is for the loose-tight approach (option C),
but he argues that governments (including the present
Government) typically opt for the tight-loose mode
(option A). In this mode, the focus is on the means of
driving up standards, by focusing on operational
practicalities, reinforced by best practice learning,
standard setting, performance reporting and inspection.
In this report, we explore the loose-tight model (option
C). We don’t attempt to deal with the full range of
operational issues facing the NHS, from the life of
dentistry practices to the challenge of tackling teenage
depression. Instead, we focus on the incentives, values
and purpose of operational units, drawing on the theme
of mutuality, leaving scope for diversity, experimentation,
learning and self-management in relation to the
practical means.
Of course, if you want to enable local management to
make decisions, then local management should be up to
the job and take responsibility for those decisions, with
no more buck-passing. There are concerns about the
quality of management of the NHS, which has suffered
from centralisation. In many ways, the culture of
decision-making in the NHS is closer to a model of
administration than true management, let alone the social
entrepreneurialism that the Prime Minister, Tony Blair,
has called for in public services (Table 3).
The mindset of the social entrepreneur – people like John
Bird of the Big Issue, Tim Smit of the Eden Project,
Richard McCarthy of the Peabody Trust or the late Lord
Young – is about adapting and reinventing organisations
to be fit for social purpose, driven not by profit but by
public interest (Table 4).
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Table 2
Systems Thinking: 3 Ways to Run the NHS 43
Table 3
Systems Culture: 3 Ways to Make Decisions in the NHS
Social Enterprise
Outcome-oriented Innovation
3 The Case for Mutuality in the NHS
Table 4
Mindsets in the NHS
Public Servant
Social Entrepreneur
Public health
Public health
Programme quality and
staff competency
Development of an effective
social enterprise
Use of public money should:
Underpin maximum choice
and mobility for patients
Support institution building
Short-term, mirroring the
year-to-year mentality of
public funding
Long-term approach to
programme development
Improvements come from:
Structural policy shift
Practical reinvestment
3.2 The Case for Mutuality
Both authors have independently argued that NHS Trusts
for both hospital and community care should be taken
out of the public sector and become independent
non-profit-making mutuals.44 Others have recently made
similar suggestions (see Box 3).
Professor John Kay, director of London Economics45 has
set out several reasons for bodies such as hospitals
becoming mutuals. There are specific needs that a
competitive market may not meet well. These include
situations where:
i. customers alone have knowledge that is specific to
the business;
regard to point iii, with the NHS there is a divorce
between the users and the suppliers of services; there is
no link between the financing and provision of services,
and users cannot generally go elsewhere as the NHS is
virtually a local monopoly. In principle, mutuals can
therefore be the most efficient way to provide current
health services.
There are, of course, different types of mutuals. A
traditional distinction is between consumer mutuals and
those owned by staff – producer mutuals. Both have
potential merits in terms of healthcare – giving a say to
patients or to staff. However, it is also the case that one
group alone running a mutual can exercise a bias
towards their interests over those of others. For this
reason, we recommend a stakeholder mutual – where a
balance of different interests is represented
For health services the last three of these apply. With
The starting point for Foundation Trusts to date has been
hospitals. These have the advantage of a clear public
profile and potential for involvement. Most people could
name their local hospital, but few their local Primary Care
Trust. Yet the nature of primary care, being lower-tech
and often involving longer-term relationships, is in many
ways more open to the active and meaningful
involvement of patients. For Primary Care Trusts, despite
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ii. there are not only individual, but community, benefits
from the activity;
iii. the service is a local monopoly;
iv. the market has missed an opportunity.
3 The Case for Mutuality in the NHS
the complexity of being both commissioners and
providers of healthcare, mutual status could therefore
represent a significant opportunity. What is needed,
however, is not an imposed solution, but a licence to
experiment, including the freedom to move beyond the
current configuration of primary and secondary care, for
example testing the scope for a single co-operative
network of local health provision.
But there is another intriguing set of reasons for
exploring mutuality in relation to health. To a degree,
ill-health, and particularly who gets ill, may be the result
of the atomisation, stress and anonymity of a less than
mutual society and economy. Successive reports over the
last twenty years have highlighted that poor health is
unevenly distributed, affecting the most disadvantaged
and vulnerable.46
The epidemiologist Richard Wilkinson demonstrates how
illnesses from the common cold to cancer and heart
disease are associated with the inequalities of stress and
economic circumstance. He argues that,“ To feel
depressed, cheated, bitter, desperate, vulnerable,
frightened, angry, worried about debts or job and
housing insecurity; to feel devalued, useless,
helpless, uncared for, hopeless, isolated, anxious
and a failure: these feelings can dominate people’s
whole experience of life, colouring their
experience of everything else. It is the chronic
s t ress arising from feelings like these which does
the damage.”47
Many of the drivers of ill-health, therefore, lie outside of
the traditional remit of the NHS. This opens up wider
questions, such as the costs of inequality and the scope
for a ‘health promoting economy’48 but also point to the
potential value of health-care models that help to
underpin trust and mutual security.
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3 The Case for Mutuality in the NHS
Box 3
Consensus on the Solution?
• Liam Fox, Conservative Shadow Health Secretary, has pledged that every hospital in the country would be free
to become a "foundation hospital"49 (October 2002).
• Tony Blair has promised that “foundation hospitals will be independent, not-for-profit institutions,
b roadly similar to hospitals in other parts of Europe, with operational freedom combined with
much stronger representation of the community…hospitals…will be directly accountable to a
‘stakeholder’ board rather than to Whitehall officials”50 (September 2002).
• The Public Services Policy Commission of the Liberal Democrats has argued for extensive NHS
decentralisation, including a potential role for new non-profit ‘public benefit organisations’51 (August 2002).
• Professor Anthony Giddens, Director of the London School of Economics (LSE), has also endorsed ideas of
looking at more extensive partnerships and non-state groups in the running of key public services.52
These could include “mutuals, social enterprises, not-for-profit Trusts and public benefit
corporations”53 (2002).
• The Institute for Public Policy Research has commenced a one-year project on not-for-profit models for public
services54 (2002).
• The Public Management Foundation has been pursuing the decentralisation concept, including legal issues
around, a “public interest company” that might be applied in all various circumstances to oversee and run
public services55 (in 2001 onwards).
• The Adam Smith Institute, which has proposed mutual applications in education and health56 (2001).
• The Association of Friendly Societies which has published a major report on mutuality and the welfare
state57 (2001).
• Professor Chris Ham (University of Birmingham, and now Director of the Strategy Unit at the DoH) wrote a
Demos booklet in which he proposed experiments on moving from state to community ownership of
healthcare providers58 (1996).
• The Independent Healthcare Association, which has published on and advocated on healthcare
mutuals59 (1994)
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3 The Case for Mutuality in the NHS
The concept of non-profit mutuality has attracted three
forms of criticism. The first is that it is privatisation by the
back door. Professor Alyson Pollock, critic of the Private
Finance Initiative (PFI), argues that “no matter how
anyone dresses it up, whether on the left or the
right … it’s not putting the public first; it’s putting
needs of small entrepreneurs first”60. This is a
complete misreading of the idea. It assumes that the only
way a public organisation can be public is because it is
run by the state. Conflating state with public is not a
rational definition but one that reflects a particular
political tradition. There is no profit-seeking or profittaking in the models we have outlined, and a lock on the
assets of the new mutuals will ensure that they cannot
subsequently be broken up or sold off for private gain. As
Tony Blair has said, “ c reative ideas for public sector
reform should not be mistaken for privatisation.”61
The second criticism is that it is in some way a return to
pre-1945 provision. In terms of recreating the innovation
of some of the proud and pioneering health experiments
of the first half of the twentieth century,62 it might be –
the Peckham experiment in London of the 1930s or the
Great Western Railway Medical Fund Society in Swindon,
funded by the collective voluntary subscriptions of
railway workers, and which is said to have been studied
by Aneurin Bevan as a model for the NHS itself.63 But the
patchy pre-1945 service was something quite different
from a modern health service, funded out of central
taxation and provided locally on the basis of need.
The thrust towards decentralisation, should not discard
all elements of a central approach. The pooling of risk
inherent in health services with universal access requires
them to operate at scale, to accommodate risk, maintain
open access and avoid liquidity crises. A number of
welfare co-operatives in the late nineteenth century failed
for this reason.64 This is one reason why we couch our
proposals for mutuality within the context of a continued
strong role for health expenditure funded from taxation.
There is a case for experimentation with mutual
contributions – and indeed an argument that the result
would be a deeper more resilient approach to mutuality.
Mutuality grows where money flows, is an old cooperative saying. But it will not be easy to recreate the
tens of thousands of friendly societies that used to act as
health mutuals – and at any rate this could not be done in
central decision, only by social and market change. The
goal, as indeed Beveridge saw it, should be for non-state
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contributions to continue to be complemented by the
necessary scale of social insurance systems.
The third criticism is that it will lead to variation in
standards. This is the fear that, without uniform services
across the board, standards will diverge to the detriment
of worse performing hospitals and their patients.
However, with suspicions also lingering over the role
intended for the private sector, the former Secretary of
State for Health, the Rt. Hon. Frank Dobson MP, has
raised fears over the dangers of a ‘two-tier system’.65 His
comments remind us that the hardest thing ever to ask of
politicians is for them to let go.
Our argument is that uniformity is a myth, and that the
pursuit of uniformity has had a uniquely detrimental
impact on standards, in discouraging initiative,
innovation and improvement. To this extent diversity is
strength. A great diversity of ways of delivery healthcare
is what is needed.
At the moment, given a uniformity of provision, there is
no single-tier system. Hospitals may be the same
organisational form, but their standards are far from
uniform. Government and media tend to be preoccupied
by what is in fact one only issue of “equity”, which is
geographic equity of access to healthcare services. This is
a legitimate concern, in the current or any future system,
with the need to secure a minimum (rather than average)
floor for quality services. But there are other types of
equity, such as equity of access for equal health need,
equity across ethnic groups and gender, equity in relation
to the use of scarce resources when new treatments
emerge or indeed the equity of health itself.66 The history
of the post-war welfare state shows that apparently
equal, uniform services do not in fact guarantee equal
access. Over that period, the inequalities of service
delivery have become obvious. Keeping the system as it
is will not provide equal access.
A more decentralised approach simply acknowledges the
diversity of need and population that exist, while giving
opportunities for improvement and appropriate
specialisation. We make no assumption that the big gains
from decentralisation are going to be captured by those
that are the current best performers rather than the worst
performers, but this is in any case not a zero-sum game.
One Trust improving does not, even if it contributes to a
great variety of performance overall, mean that the
3 The Case for Mutuality in the NHS
patients of another are worse off in real terms. Indeed, in
so many complex systems in the natural environment, it
is diversity that generates and regenerates advance and
evolution, while uniformity decays and fails in the face
of risk.
These criticisms are at best a misunderstanding of what
mutuals can and do achieve.
3.3 The Mutual Health Service Action Plan
A fully mutual health service will take time to evolve and
require patient experimentation. The essence of our
proposals is to make a series of first steps, focussing on
institutional change that can licence a wider process of
learning and adaptation. In themselves our proposals do
not constitute fully-fledged mutuality, but a move
towards it. In particular, we argue that the NHS should be
demerged, governance opened up to wider input, in
particular from staff and users, and that management be
devolved, by the following steps:
1. Establish a new legal model for a mutual health ‘public
interest company’.
2. Open invitations to a first wave of Primary Care Trusts
to elect for Foundation Trust status, offering full
independent status and management freedom within a
regulatory framework. Given that a full performance
framework is not yet complete for Primary Care Trusts,
Foundation Trust status should be awarded on the
strengths of the bids received.
3. Trial a small selection of ‘combined’ Foundation Trusts,
bringing together primary and secondary care into a
single co-operative local health economy.
4. Open invitations to a wider group of NHS Trusts to
elect for Foundation Trust status.
5. Set a democratic template for governance in the form
of a multi-stakeholder approach to membership and
the board.
applied these, and a Participation Standard, setting out
good practice in relation to staff and
patient involvement.
7. Once the first wave of Foundation Trusts have started,
the Office of National Statistics should set out an
opinion on whether they should be classified as public
sector or, like universities and social housing,
independent, with the more comprehensive financial
freedoms this would imply.
8. Set a duty on all Primary Care Trusts to treat patients
as partners in healthcare, in order to make the most of
opportunities to involve patients, not just in their own
healthcare, for example, but in the design, oversight
and evaluation of low-tech services.
9. Reorient existing funding contracts to create greater
incentives for effective performance. Trial a wider
system of public health incentives, in which
Foundation Trusts are compensated for cost savings in
the health service (the ‘social return on investment’)
achieved through public health and self-help initiatives,
such as around obesity and reduced smoking.
10.Set up a new Health Regulator, accountable to
parliament, and initiate an NHS Regulatory Review to
cut through the confused and ad hoc reporting and
lines of accountability required of NHS Trusts.
11.Set a template for Trusts to complete an annual social
audit, to report on healthcare and healthcare outcomes
performance alongside the publication of its
financial accounts.67
Our proposed target is that by 2010 over half the Primary
Care and NHS Trusts will have won Foundation Trust
status. However, the most important measures of
progress will need to go beyond the classification of
organisations to test the extent to which mutuality is able
to inform a deeper culture change around healthcare. The
best measure of the new relationships and
responsibilities, around which a mutual health service
can be built is, perhaps, trust.
6. Establish a Governance Quality Standard, to ensure the
application of good governance processes to all NHS
Trusts, including those that have not previously
Trust is the single most important factor in the success of
collaborative or co-operative ventures, and there are
increasingly, good standardised measures of trust
available.68 By 2010 the new partnership models should
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3 The Case for Mutuality in the NHS
be well on their way to re-engineering the NHS around
mutuality, promoting service-level innovation, public
participation and citizen responsibility for health. The end
result over time would be far more diversity of provision,
along with greater accountability and a freeing of the
creativity and innovation that already exists within the
workforce of the present NHS.
The Mutual Health Service
4 Foundation Trusts:
building blocks of a Mutual
Health Service
4.1 Flying free
Box 4
Intended freedoms of NHS Foundation Trusts
NHS Trusts were intended to be independent
organisations. But they never succeeded in flying from
the nest of Whitehall control. The managerialism of the
Department of Health and the logic of the bidding culture
held them fast.69 In response, and drawing in strong part
on our work, the Labour Government has come up with
the idea of Foundation Trusts.
In his speech to the New Health Network on 15 January
2002, Alan Milburn, Secretary of State for Health, outlined
what these might mean. Starting with the bestperforming Trusts, the intention was to free these from
the strict financial and management control by the
Department of Health. "What we envisage” he said
“is a fundamentally diff e rent sort of NHS. Not a
state run structure, but a values based system,
where greater diversity and devolution are
underpinned by common standards and a common
public service ethos.”
Foundation Trusts are meant to have the current
freedoms of Trusts as well as enhanced capabilities
arising from the Government’s aim of ‘earned autonomy’.
These include:
• greater freedoms over human resources;
• management freedoms;
• finance – for example, keeping receipts from land sales,
and enhanced private finance rights;
• more inclusive governance and broader participation
involving for example staff and users and other
important stakeholders;
• reduced central regulation and monitoring.
Another speech by the Secretary of State moved things
on. This was on 22 May 2002 to a conference of top
managers from the UK, and from other European
countries (Spain and Sweden) where there is a record of
success in delivering healthcare via decentralisation
within the state-run health service and use of the
Foundation model.71
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• a clear public service ethos and
not-for-profit basis;
• giving greater control to patients and service
users and opening up options for greater
accountability to local communities;
• more active involvement and control for staff
and management;
• offering freedom from ‘top-down’ management
from Whitehall;
• immunity to take-over by organisations which will
not provide such benefits.70
At the time several of the best-performing NHS Trusts,
(the “three star” Trusts), had given firm notice of interest
in becoming NHS Foundation Trusts. These were
Addenbrooke’s NHS Trust, Norfolk and Norwich
University Hospital NHS Trust, Northumbria Healthcare
NHS Trust and Peterborough Hospitals NHS Trust.72 The
first Foundation Trusts are intended be operational by
mid 2003. What the Secretary of State has so far
described could well become the formal building blocks
of a Mutual Health Service. The development of such new
organisations in the UK will require a basic template,
around which experimentation can take place. These
include: legal form, democratic governance, financial
powers, regulation and accountability.
4.2 Do We Need a New Legal Form?
Public bodies including existing NHS Trusts and
authorities derive their power – and much of their
reporting obligations – from Acts of Parliament and
Statutory Instruments. The post NHS Plan Health Service
still contains a large number of public bodies (including
quangos) which are essentially accountable to
Parliament, and whose boards are appointed. In the NHS
the NHS Appointments Commission carries out that latter
function. Public bodies are accountable to politicians.
Their terms of reference can be – and often are – changed
by politicians (at national level in the case of the
present NHS).
4 Foundation Trusts:
building blocks of a Mutual Health Service
Outside the public sector the primary legal form adopted
by enterprises of all sorts is that of the company. One of
the current requirements is that the constitution of a
company contain a memorandum and articles of
association. The former will contain an objects clause,
setting out the scope of activity of the company; i.e. just
what it is permitted to do. If a company acts outside its
objects clause it is “ultra vires”. Whether or not a
company acts ultra vires as it affects shareholders has
now been interpreted by the courts of law as having little
to do with the contents of the objects clause.73 One
aspect of the current company law debate is whether
there should be such an objects clause. This is relevant to
the debate around devolved governance within the
context of the NHS. Much of the general debate is
occurring around the Government’s review of
company law.74
There is no legal definition of a mutual in the UK,
although there may be an attempt to bring in such a
definition under Scottish law in due course, via the
Scottish Parliament. Mutuals have operated under both
company law and industrial and provident society law.
Examples of the former include worker co-operatives.
Examples of the latter include the friendly societies and
many retail consumer co-operatives.
The issue of having a lock on the public assets of the
NHS Foundation Trusts is, of course, vital. The Institute of
Directors, the New Economics Foundation and the Public
Management Foundation in its pioneering work on the
public interest company have all given prominence to
this aspect.76
The existing assets of NHS Trusts that convert to
Foundation Trust status will have been financed by public
revenues for the purpose of public healthcare. There is a
clear interest in ensuring that such assets cannot be
distributed to private individuals or companies and
therefore lost to the wider public good. The clearest case
of this is upon dissolution. As in the case of registered
charities, this would mean that where a Foundation Trust
is dissolved, the assets should not be distributed to
private individuals but held for the public purpose
provided (for example by distribution to another
Foundation Trust or back to the state). This provides an
assurance that the organisation is not broken up for
private gain.
This is a ‘lock on asset distribution’ as opposed to a ‘lock
on asset use’. The latter would represent a more
extensive straightjacket in terms of financial powers. A
‘lock on asset distribution’ would not deny a Foundation
Trust in the pursuit of its public purpose mission the
freedom, subject to prudential regulation, to dispose of
Box 5
Types of Company75
Limited by shares:
Private limited company
Most common type
Public limited company
May be Stock Exchange listed, or unlisted
Limited by guarantee
E.g. charity, professional association
Unlimited company
Incorporated by charter
E.g. universities, the Institute of Directors
Incorporated by statute
Housing associations
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4 Foundation Trusts:
building blocks of a Mutual Health Service
assets on commercial terms or enter into joint ventures,
using its assets as security.
Could this be provided by existing legal forms? One
option could be to ensure that in the company articles of
association (or in the equivalent clauses in the rules of an
industrial and provident society) the nature of activities to
be undertaken would need to be stated, along with
proscriptions against fundamentally changing these
without referral to the Secretary of State for Health, or his
appropriate regulator. Additionally, in the dissolution
clauses that on a winding-up, the net assets should revert
to the State or to a similar Foundation Trust with the
same lock on public assets. Part of the monitoring role of
the State would be to ensure that Foundation Trusts were
not acting ultra vires.
However, there are a number of other characteristics
required for the legal form that is used for the roll-out of
Foundation Trusts. These include the ability to trade on a
non profit basis; non-profit distribution77 ; an effective
and inclusive governance structure; the power to borrow;
and stakeholder ownership, with the benefits of
limited liability.
There are three existing legal models relevant to
Foundation Trusts:
• Company limited by guarantee (CLG) - here members
‘own’ the company but there is no share capital and
hence there are rights of control but no rights to
residual earnings.
• Industrial and provident society (I&PS) – bona fide cooperative are for the mutual benefit of their members,
with any surplus being ploughed back into the
organisation to provide better services and facilities.
Each member has at least one share in the society and
control is vested in the members equally.
shareholders who are the owners of the company and
have a right to the residual profits after all creditors
have been paid. Legally there is a duty specifically to
create returns for shareholders, which is not
commensurate with a primary commitment to quality
healthcare and related objectives.
Table 5 shows that the company limited by guarantee and
the industrial and provident society for the benefit of the
community meet the primary conditions for Foundation
Trusts, with the exception of having a lock on assets.
In other fields of activity, these legal models are
combined with regulation – such as for charities and for
social housing – that effectively enshrine a lock on assets.
This would be a reasonable fall-back option for health. A
more effective approach, however, would be to fill the
legal and institutional gap that exists through a new
model that ensures this, and related powers, directly. This
would be the public interest company – which was
developed, in concept, by the Public Management
Foundation. It has some similarities to the US public
benefit corporation – although with the scope for more
significant and meaningful participation by
stakeholders.79 The Strategy Unit in its recent review of
the voluntary and wider not-for-profit sector endorsed
this model, using the term ‘community
interest company’.
The advantage is that a purpose-built vehicle would be
created, with the guarantee of asset integrity. Given the
long-term importance of the Foundation Trust model, the
development of a public interest company model seems
an appropriate investment of legislative time
and attention.
• Industrial and provident society – society for the benefit
of the community (I&PS bencom) – here members
‘own’ the organisation but there is no distribution of
share capital and hence there are rights of control but
no rights to residual earnings. This organisation may or
may not be registered as a charity.
The company limited by shares is not readily adaptable
for Foundation Trusts. It has private ‘external’
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4 Foundation Trusts:
building blocks of a Mutual Health Service
Table 5 78
Existing Legal Models for Foundation Trusts
Key Characteristic
1. Company Limited by Guarantee
A. Ability to trade and generate a surplus to be used
for furthering the aims of the Trust
Met. CLGs can trade in the same way as a company
limited by shares.
Further specifications of activities or of the aims of the
Trust and the use of the surplus could be spelt out in
the articles of association and memoranda.
B. Non-profit-distribution
Partly met. Organisations can put a non-profitdistribution clause into their constitution; but this can
be changed by a vote of members.
C. Lock on Assets (i.e. that they are devoted in
perpetuity to public benefit objectives)
Not met. Section 30 registration requires such a clause
in the constitution. However, the company can still be
wound up and the assets transferred; and in practice,
evidence from solicitors suggests that companies can
remove themselves from the Section 30 constraints
even without having to go through this process.
Companies can make use of contracts to minimise the
chances of conversion, but this cannot provide an
absolute safeguard.
D. Flexibility to implement a variety of inclusive
stakeholder governance structures
Partly Met. The CLG form is highly flexible, and allows
for a range of membership and board structures. The
constitution can be changed by special resolution
(75%) of the members.
Governance structures are not really dependent on the
CLG form but true control ultimately legally resides
with those who are the specified ‘members’.
E. Ability to access a range of appropriate finance
Partly met. High-profile CLGs have successfully tapped
the bond market; others have had varying success.
Cannot attract equity shares but are able to use
quasi-equity investment which is risk capital without
share stakes and where a return can be based on
performance (although probably limited).
F. Stakeholder ownership with limited liability
Met. Ownership is through ‘members’ who are
specified in the memorandum and articles. They have
rights ofcontrol but not rights to residual profits.
Members’ liability is limited to the amount of the
guarantee (which is usually nominal).
Concluding notes
The Mutual Health Service
Meets the main criteria except lock on assets and
access to all forms of finance. The former point is
probably more important than the latter.
4 Foundation Trusts:
building blocks of a Mutual Health Service
2. Industrial & Provident Society (I&PS)
bona fide Co-operative
3. Industrial & Provident Society (I&PS bencom)
Partly met. Co-ops can and do trade; this is for private
member benefit but membership can be open to anyone.
Bona fide I&PSs are designed to distribute profits to the
key stakeholder group or retain these for further
investment. Clearly agreement could be made that they
were not to be distributed but this is not built into the
Met. Built into the design and specifics can be
accommodate in model rules.
Not met. Possible but the model is predicated on full
‘ownership’ rights of control and access to residual
Met. Bencoms are prohibited from distributing profits
to members.
Not met. Subject to high voting thresholds, two
membership ballots can resolve to demutualise and
distribute assets to members.
Not met. In theory, assets must be transferred to a
body with similar purposes on dissolution. However,
an I&PS can always convert into a company and then
be sold, with assets distributed to members. Careful
drafting can reduce the risk of this happening. Housing
associations and credit unions are safeguarded under
separate legislation.
Could be written in but non-enforceable.
Not met. There are strict rules emphasising equality
among membership; members elect officers.
Not really since predicated generally on one ownership
group – usually employees or customers.
Met. Governance model run on co-operative
principles. Have to run organisation ‘for the benefit of
the community’. Are able to adopt a variety of multistakeholder governance models.
Not really able to support multi-stakeholder governance.
Partly met. The poor level of interest or understanding
amongst financiers hinders access to funds.
Most forms of finance including limited equity stakes but
not clear that it offers full access to equity.
Partly met. Cannot attract equity shares but are able to
use quasi-equity investment which is risk capital
without share stakes and where a return can be based
on performance (although probably limited).
The poor level of interest or understanding amongst
financiers also hinders access to funds, except where
strong assets and income flows are established.
Met. Ownership by specified stakeholder group such as
employees or customers. Rights to control and limited
rights to residual profits in the form of dividends.
Met. Ownership is through ‘members’ who are
specified in the model rules. They have rights of
control but not rights to residual profits.
Members’ liability is limited to the amount of the
shareholding which is nominal.
Could meet some of the objectives but these are not
built into the legal model itself and does not support
multi-stakeholder governance.
The Mutual Health Service
Meets the main criteria except lock on assets and
access to all forms of finance. The former point is
probably more important than the latter.
4 Foundation Trusts:
building blocks of a Mutual Health Service
4.3 A multi-stakeholder model for
Foundation Trusts
Box 6
Good Governance
The Combined Code (1998) for UK listed
companies: 6 principles for Directors83
The legal model, however, is a basic template. It does not
dictate the way that a organisation is run, is overseen or
is accountable. There will be a benefit in leaving some of
this open to interpretation and innovation, so that
Foundation Trusts can in future gravitate towards the
most successful approach.
1. Every listed company should be headed by an
effective board, which should lead and control
the company.
2. There are two key tasks at the top of every public
company – the running of the board and the
executive responsibility for the running of the
company’s business. There should be a clear
division of responsibilities at the head of the
company, which will ensure a balance of power
and authority so that no one individual has
unfettered powers of decision.
3. The board should include a balance of executive
and non-executive directors (including
independent non-executive directors) such that
no individual or small group of individuals can
dominate the board’s decision taking.
4. The board should be supplied in a timely manner
with information in a form and of a quality
appropriate to enable it to discharge its duties.
5. There should be a formal and transparent
procedure for the appointment of new directors
to the board.
6. All directors should be required to submit
themselves for re-election at regular intervals and
at least every three years.
The legal model, for example, should enable a variety of
governance models to be designed and implemented.
Across all legal models there is still only limited good
practice of innovative and inclusive governance models.
Just as much work will therefore need to be done in
designing the appropriate governance model as in
deciding the appropriate legal form.
The tasks of a NHS Trust Boards were set out some years
ago by the Institute of Directors, working with the NHS.80
They have been revised and revisited by the Department
of Health, most recently via the NHS Appointments
Examples of good practice are to be found in the
Combined Code, which relates to Stock Exchange listed
companies in the UK. Other types of body have drawn up
their own codes of conduct on corporate governance,
some based on the Combined Code. General principles of
corporate governance have also been formulated at
international level, for example by the Commonwealth
Association of Corporate Governance and the
Organisation for Economic Co-operation
and Development.82
In NHS boards as they exist at present, there is a very
significant governance gap:
• Boards of directors have little financial independence.
• Boards cannot exercise strategic leadership (this is
largely dependent on Whitehall).
• Boards cannot therefore exercise full responsibilities as
to various stakeholders such as patients, employees,
suppliers, local residents and health-related charities.
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Applying these principles, Foundation Trusts will (as now)
need an appropriate mix of executive and non-executive
directors. The executives could be drawn from the same
base as at present, so that there would continue to be
posts such as chief executive, finance director and
medical director.
Mechanisms need to be devised to allow accountability in
terms of appointment and possible removal of board
members, e.g. by time-limited periods of office of
non-executive directors. For all actual and potential board
members, induction and continuing professional
development would play an important part in building
high quality governance. But rather than the present
system in which non-executive directors are nominated
by another public body, there is a strong case for a
recognition and link with the different stakeholders
behind the Foundation Trust.
4 Foundation Trusts:
building blocks of a Mutual Health Service
In Foundation Trusts, the directors would be appointed by
the members, quite possibly a range of people
representative of or drawn from wider stakeholders.
Rather than a self-selected model in which the only
members were directors (which is quite often the case in
the charity field), the mutual model is better suited to a
‘multi-stakeholder’ approach.
The key stakeholders are likely to be people from the
local area (or in the case of an organisation providing
specialist and tertiary care, the area it serves); staff;
partner organisations in the local area – for example from
voluntary organisations or the local strategic
partnerships; NHS commissioners; local education,
training and research bodies. A key advantage of the
multi-stakeholder mutual model for Foundation Trusts
(rather than a narrow, self-selected non-profit model) is
that it offers a way to build co-operative relations with
strategic stakeholders, such as social services, and build
a more effective governance of the wider local
health economy.
The Foundation Trust would be owned by and
accountable to these members. But ownership would
mean something more limited than for existing company
forms. Full shareholder ownership implies two rights: the
rights to control and the rights to residual profit after all
other claimants (e.g. employees, creditors etc) have been
paid. The members of Foundation Trust would only have
ownership rights in terms of rights to control rather than
any rights to residual profit and the corporate model
must ensure this.
However, whatever the actual mix of executive and nonexecutives, on the board, and whatever interest groups or
constituencies are involved the board as a whole must
always pursue the interests of the Trust and not merely
their own vested interests. In other words they must have
a “fiduciary duty” to the organisation as a whole. An
active engagement with different stakeholders can throw
up new ideas and information, improving the quality of
governance. But it would also be quite possible to set up
boards where the individual members regarded
themselves as delegates of some particular interest
group, rather than having a fiduciary duty to the
corporate entity itself. This should be avoided.
principles could be developed. This could include
members chosen by lot, as in jury service, or widely
dispersed voting rights among staff or the local
population. Gareth R. Thomas MP has argued that each
adult member of a geographical area might be offered
(one should not impose membership of a mutual) a
nominal share in a Foundation Trust and a vote in
electing the non-executive directors. 84 That would have
some similarities with local government, insofar as voting
rights were concerned.
Foundation trusts could experiment with the spectrum of
possible involvement of stakeholders. Johnston Birchall
sets out a range of these in his work on multi-stakeholder
mutuals, ranging from nominal representation (using
proxies or organisational representatives) through to
indirect or direct representation (using devices such as
selection by lot, as in juries, or direct elections).85
Professor Henrietta Moore of the LSE sets out that, in any
collective organisation, the involvement of local people
should range from deciding not to participate in the
operation of the trust, to seeking information about what
it does, to wanting a copy of the annual report, to
wishing to attend a meeting or to stand for an official
position.86 Equally, the right to dissent and to offer
criticism can be a powerful tool for service improvement.
“I am personally not convinced that the best way of
encouraging the best community involvement
between the local community and the local hospital
that serves it, is simply by an independent
appointments commission appointing five nonexecutive directors. I do not think that is the best
way of doing it. I really do not.”87
Alan Milburn, June 2002.
There are a number of creative ways in which
participative governance models consistent with these
This is about individual people. But the involvement of
local partners as stakeholders is also important to a
mutual approach. Intermediary, community based
organisations play an increasingly important role in
healthcare. One way to engage the community, practised
by many health mutuals overseas88, is to use groups of
people, such as self-help groups or those with an interest
in health promotion, or particular disease conditions. The
multi-stakeholder approach helps to engage interest
groups while providing for a balance of
different interests.
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4 Foundation Trusts:
building blocks of a Mutual Health Service
This is important to get right. Breast cancer has rightly
become a popular issue, with a range of active women’s
groups, but prostrate cancer among men has not
attracted the same degree of self-help and advocacy. If
having different stakeholders involved brings issues of
resource use and opportunity costs out into the open,
then it may be possible to resolve them in a democratic
way, while still encouraging the kind of self-help and
public engagement that in the case of breast cancer has
had such a positive effect – raising women’s awareness
and exposing anomalies and inconsistencies in the
historic way it has been treated.
Spreading good practice on governance is urgently
needed in the NHS and other public services. Establishing
a Governance Quality Standard, to ensure the application
of good governance processes and a Participation
Standard, setting out good practice in relation to staff and
patient involvement would assist in this process.
However, as David Aaronovitch has put it, “the best
practice in spreading best practice is to have
people wanting to adopt it (and adapt it) rather
than enforcing it…They have to become selfstarters.”89
4.4 Follow the Money
If conspiracy theorists believed that Foundation Trusts
were never going to be allowed to be independent, they
should, as the saying goes, follow the money. Financial
freedoms are likely to be the lifeblood of effective
Foundation Trusts. That is not because health outcomes
are determined primarily by money90, but because
without full financial management powers, the
management of health systems operates within a
Within the existing NHS there are already various new
forms of finance in place, including the PFI and other
types of Public Private Partnership (PPP). The
Government has also introduced a pilot scheme run by
the Local Improvement Finance Trust.91 This is intended
to give health authorities, local authorities and GPs equity
stakes in privately-financed one-stop primary
care centres.92
management freedoms required by Foundation Trusts.
They are, in essence, ways of rationing additional marketbased project finance in ways that are conducive to
centralised control. But centralised rationing does not
necessarily accord well with the micro-economics of
allocating capital in the most effective manner possible.
At present, Foundation Trusts are intended to remain as
public sector organisations, with freedom to borrow,
although this will be counted as part of the DoH
expenditure limit. This has the elegance of testing out the
importance and quality of the borrowing, but is ultimately
not sustainable if Foundation Trusts are to extend across
the NHS. The issue of whether Foundation Trusts are to
be counted as part of the public sector borrowing
requirement should be tested after an initial phase, with
the Office for National Statistics holding the say on
whether they are sufficiently independent for it to make
no sense to classify them as public sector bodies.
Regulation has a role in ensuring that Foundation Trusts
use finance in a prudent way, without excessive risk to
core services or facilities. But it makes sense that
expanding facilities to provide future services to patients
could be paid for in part by future generations through
the mechanism of borrowing today.
And, while the prime focus is on debt finance, where the
ownership of assets does not pass over to the private
sector, Foundation Trusts may require the facility to use
limited amounts of equity finance, with limited control
rights and possibly a capped return, as in the model of
industrial and provident societies, in order to finance
risky investments rather than fund them through loans or
retained reserves.93 This would need to be integrated into
the development of the legal model. At the same time,
some of the risks of excessive diversification could be
managed by enabling this to be achieved through a
group structure.
These models of finance fall short of offering the financial
The autonomy of financial management, within a
regulatory framework, is a basic guarantee of the ability
of NHS mutuals to achieve their results in the way they
feel is best. “Foundation” hospital directors in Sweden
can borrow money on the open market to fund new
premises, and in Spain they can set local pay and terms
for employees94 – which is also an issue that needs to be
tackled in the UK to begin to address labour shortages in
many parts of the NHS. It is important, therefore, that
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4 Foundation Trusts:
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they should be empowered to borrow money in the
normal way – and perhaps in new ways with ‘public
health bonds’. This kind of bond could be issued by any
public sector or voluntary sector body of long-standing,
that wants to run projects where there is a proven
likelihood of public savings from improved health. These
would work rather like bonds that raise finance for
business, and might be guaranteed by the contract
provider (Primary Care Trusts for example) and paid back
over a similar period. They could repay the money, with
interest, either in the normal way or possibly by clawing
back future savings – much as a conventional bond issue
would do for future earnings – and bundle them up so
that the project can raise the finance it needs.95
4.5 Performance Contracts
The goal for funding systems is to align incentives and
outcomes and set an accountability framework. The goal
must be to create stable contracts that tie funding to
social performance, in the form of outputs or results
actually delivered to target beneficiaries. This supports a
more entrepreneurial approach to securing the social
return on investment required by government or other
funding parties.
Social performance contracts of this form have a similar
philosophy to the ‘Community Investment Tax Credit’
proposed by the Social Investment Task Force, and now
adopted by the Treasury.96 Both seek to incentivise
entrepreneurial activity for social outcomes, but social
performance contracts operate through public
expenditure rather than public revenue foregone, so they
are both more straightforward administratively and they
have a potentially wider application across
public services.97
Compared to existing funding contracts channelled
through PCTs, this model is a formal legal contract
between independent entities and places a greater
emphasis on outcome funding rather than fixed budgets
and penalties. While the current model is easier in terms
of relatively static financial planning, social performance
contracts operate more effectively in terms of incentives
(so that where you do well, you get more funding and
vice-versa) and, in terms of investment planning, can
offer a clearer, more stable revenue stream. However, the
approach works well where a health outcome – such as
stopping smoking – can be clearly distinguished, but is
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less appropriate where there is room for dispute over
outcomes, so that a balance is required in the overall
funding regime.
4.6 A New Regulator
There should be a Health Regulator supervising the NHS.
One of us (Ruth Lea) has already proposed that the role
of the NHS as such should be to become the regulator
and funder.98 Indeed, the Department of Health already
holds a range of regulatory functions.99 An independent
audit system, the Commission for Healthcare Audit and
Inspection (CHAI), is in place, but there is probably a case
for separating out the culture of inspection, intended to
provide independent quality assurance, from that of
regulation. If the regulatory functions of the Department
were passed to a more formal regulator, accountable to
the Secretary of State and to Parliament, the result would
be a slimmer Department of Health, better integrated with
devolved administrations, focused on policy development
and acting as a strategic facilitator of the overall
health system.
One of the aims of regulation is to move away from an
informal system of influence in health, dominated by the
bidding culture for resources, towards a more formalised
system, that is stable and transparent, capable of
allowing diversity and focused on supporting appropriate
incentives and values among Foundation Trusts as the
building blocks of a Mutual Health Service.
The key regulatory functions required for Foundation
Hospitals would therefore be:
• A licensing function enables already constituted
organisations to receive certain forms of grant or
contract. The process can be thorough, and involves an
assessment of an organisation’s purpose and
accountability, its financial plans and general
management capacity.
• A range of appropriate and relevant reporting
mechanisms can be used to review progress, including
social and financial audits.100
• Prudential guidelines would, for example, regulate
diversification into activities that are not core health.
• Enforcement, would give options to the regulator to
achieve enforcement or coercion.101
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building blocks of a Mutual Health Service
The introduction of a senior health regulator of this form,
operating at operational arms length from ministers,
would provide an opportunity to complete a NHS
Regulatory Review. This would bring the multitude of
agencies monitoring and regulating the NHS more into
line, to ensure more consistent, streamlined and coherent
oversight, instead of the current array of ad hoc and
confused demands made of NHS Trusts.
With clear regulation, a new independent legal form, a
participative governance structure and funding contracts
designed with incentives in mind, Foundation Trusts are
the building blocks of the Mutual Health Service. They
will allow for diversity and innovation, while being clearly
accountable to those that matter. In many ways,
accountability (and where appropriate ‘contestability’102)
plays the same kind of role that competition plays in
privatisation. It keeps health providers efficient and
effective, but without the narrow efficiency that can
damage the quality of service by privatised bodies if the
bottom line becomes all that counts.
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5 New Mutuality: the patient role
5.1 A Public Sense of Ownership
5.2 Public Health
What makes new thinking on mutuality different from the
traditional model is its emphasis on participation. We
have lived through a period where mutual building
societies – the main area where people found themselves
involved with mutualism – were indistinguishable from
non-mutuals. Membership was expressed by an annual
vote, normally just to rubber-stamp nominated members
of the board. Thanks to the dominant political debate
during the 1940s, mutualism was about ‘ownership’ – and
little more than a narrowly legalistic interpretation of it.
All too often, we still organise health with technical
solutions to cure people, rather than involving them to
keep them well in the first place. Up to 30% of the
premature death and disease experienced in western
societies is preventable. Around half of the current NHS
expenditure goes on treating preventable illness.103 As
budgets rise in the future, preventative healthcare is
going to rise in importance and that means a different
relationship between patients and professionals.
While participation without ownership can clearly be
patronising and exploitative, ownership without
participation is often meaningless – as it was with many
of the building societies. That is why public ownership all
too often does not mean a public sense of ownership.
The new mutualism tries to redress this balance, realising
that in the NHS – as with other public services –
professionals can’t succeed without active involvement
with the public.
There is a growing – though not yet universal –
understanding of just how much healthcare depends on
the co-operation of patients. Doctors complain that it is
hard to get patients to change their lifestyles, eating, lack
of exercise or smoking. Alcohol and drug rehabilitation
programmes can’t work without the enthusiastic cooperation of the people involved and they must also have
a support group.
The same is true for bypass surgery or hip replacements.
Patients will not recover without some kind of support
group who make sure they are not lonely, that they have
food in the house, and that they have somebody to turn
to if they succumb to depression.
In scenarios developed by HM Treasury for the Wanless
Review of the NHS, the degree of individual self-help was
identified over twenty years as the single largest variable
in terms of costs. High levels of public engagement,
compared to present rates, are estimated to deliver
savings of £30 billion per annum by 2022 (a saving that
approaches half of today’s NHS Budget).104
In other sectors, such as housing, education or social
care, alternative community-based approaches to funding
and providing services are far more advanced and well
documented. The diversity of independent schools and
colleges, operating successfully as charities or
community enterprises are still able to deliver
educational services to nationally agreed standards. And
when it comes to social services and palliative care – the
voluntary sector plays a vital role in running community
care services – support for carers, hospices, childcare and
day care facilities for a variety of different vulnerable
groups. But when it comes to our primary healthcare
service, the story is very different.
Equally, mutuality implies that they too can have
responsibilities. It may not be the formal, legal
responsibilities of the market and commercial exchange,
but mutuality can have a hard edge to it if it sets clearer
notions of the responsibility that patients have. This
might be in terms of something like diet or self-diagnosis
(after all, self-help and mutual aid have always gone hand
in hand) or simply in turning up to appointments,
avoiding free riding that sees some patients waste
resources, to the cost of others.
The spirit of voluntarism lives on in the many volunteers
still active in hospitals today, through the League of
Friends and the Women’s Royal Voluntary Service, who
help provide a friendly face or a cup of tea when it is
most needed. But time-giving in hospitals is declining.
The only place within the health service where people are
getting more involved is through patient-support groups.
These groups use newly gained knowledge to challenge a
sometimes arrogant medical establishment and also
provide valuable support to others who are managing a
similar condition. Meanwhile, the evidence that social
capital – one of the outcomes of getting involved with
friends, relatives or community groups – is good for your
health is growing.
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5 New Mutuality: the patient role
Other mutual approaches to providing healthcare are also
emerging. Time banks running in health centres as a way
of providing ‘social’ prescriptions – a friendly chat or a
supportive phone call that increasingly GPs don’t have
the time or the ability to provide, but which they know is
just as important as the treatment – are now well
established.105 They show how to unlock the time not just
of health professionals but of patients.
the Rushey Green Group Practice, based at two locations
in Catford, in South East London. Interest in developing a
time bank at the practice was sparked by GP Richard
Byng, who was keen to explore and develop alternatives
for tackling isolation and depression. Initial research
found that both staff and patients supported the idea and
felt that the scheme had the capacity to generate
much-needed social support for the most isolated older
people – as well as families and provide low level
practical help to enable older people to stay in their
own homes.
5.3 The Other Resource – Time
Some problems – like hospital waiting lists and the
annual flu epidemic and the resulting hospital bed crisis
come round with familiar regularity – it seems no matter
how much money the government promises and says
they are spending to sort the problem. Ministers realise
that they have to make a difference to these perennial
problems if they are to retain any political credibility. But
to do this they need to tackle root causes rather than
merely addressing the symptoms. In the case of hospital
waiting lists it is often because too few beds
are available.
A classic example is the problem of finding appropriate
care for older people in the community so that hospitals
can send them home. Birmingham Royal Infirmary
suffered from severe bed blockage during winter
2000-2001 and cancelled all elective surgery, simply
because they could not send older people home – there
was no one to look after them. Time banks – and other
systems for involving patients in the delivery of health
services – are methods for tapping into the enormous
wasted resource of people’s time. It clearly costs money,
but not in the way that health investment normally does.
And the evidence from the USA suggests that mutuality
of this kind – based on time banks – can save
considerable sums on treatment.
Also, while we invest in ever increasing complex – and
expensive – technologies to treat patients, like
micro-surgery and genetic screening, we are in danger of
neglecting the essential community-based back-up
systems, that are essential to getting better and may even
help prevent them getting sick in the first place.
The time bank is run by a broker on the end of a phone.
People earn time ‘credits’ by helping out, and spend them
when they need help themselves. The range and type of
services include: befriending, running errands, giving
lifts, arranging social events, woodwork, poetry writing,
teaching sewing, babysitting, gardening, lifting that
requires muscle, swimming, fishing, teaching the piano,
catering, form-filling, design work, drawing and giving
local knowledge.
Initial research at the practice found that – as well as the
volunteer support to local people who need it generated
by the time bank – it has also helped to build people’s
confidence and self-esteem by shifting the emphasis from
areas where they are challenged or failing, to activities
and skills that they enjoy and can share with others
In this way, the scheme has given a sense of self-worth to
people who had previously been passive recipients of
care. Many of the members are elderly or disabled and
cared for, at least to some extent. The time bank has also
given them the opportunity to give and become ‘carers’
themselves in different ways in the community.
By blurring the distinction between givers and receivers
and encouraging more vulnerable people, such as the
elderly and those with mental heath needs, to get
involved and share their time, the time bank is helping to
build more community based self-help and
mutual support:
The pilot community time bank was developed in
partnership between the New Economics Foundation and
This kind of mutual volunteering can provide very real
benefits to health services. First of all, by offering health
centres access to complementary, community based
support – run by local people for local people and in this
way reducing patient overload on staff. Secondly, they
offer patients benefits, by focussing on what they have to
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5 New Mutuality: the patient role
offer rather just on where they need help. This approach
can have particular benefits for many people with mental
health needs, who are often stigmatised as mental health
service ‘users.’
The evidence so far shows that people involved in time
banks are more likely to call on each other for help than
go to the GP. Through their involvement in the time bank
they become more active in their community, often going
on to take up more formal volunteering opportunities.106
We are not presenting time banks as the only way to
involve patients more pro-actively in the NHS. They are
simply an illustration. But there are many, many more
such community health projects that are starting to make
dramatic inroads into some of the more intractable public
health issues.107 There are expert patient schemes,
training patients to mentor people who share difficult
conditions with them. There are patient involvement
workers, an approach pioneered in Scotland.108 A number
of PCTs have experimented with partnerships to address
fuel poverty, a major cause of death in winter among
elderly people.
The Participation Matrix (table 6) provides a way to look
at various initiatives that are being used or piloted. The
left side of the matrix represents a ladder of participation
running from ad hoc forms of involvement through to
some direct responsibility. The matrix suggests that the
NHS has not yet found ways to engage and incentivise a
wider set of people, either in limited or more significant
forms of involvement. This is a conclusion borne out by
relevant research.109
effectively been a monopoly purchaser of the labour of
health professionals. That has enabled government
artificially to depress wages, saving costs but further
contributing to low morale and recruitment problems.
One of the goals of the move away from a centralised
approach should be to find better ways of harnessing the
ideas and energy of the large, experienced and diverse
workforce of the NHS. Research by the Public
Management Foundation has recommended far closer
attention to the issue of motivating and valuing doctors
as managers – the same would hold true more widely for
nurses and other staff.111
Staff involvement is no less important than the inclusion
of patients. As one nurse commented “If we are not
involved – why should patients be?” Frontline staff
can feel just as excluded as patients from the decisionmaking process. Yet, if their good work is rarely valued or
rewarded then there is little opportunity for managers to
build on the fact that frontline staff are repositories of
significant amounts of knowledge, expertise and critically
trust. The public experience of healthcare depends on the
quality of frontline workers at the interface of service
delivery, from surgery receptionists to community nurses
and midwives. The new mutuality in healthcare needs to
develop in ways that value and include frontline staff –
without whom little can be accomplished.
An example is the crisis in volunteering in hospitals –
there need to be efforts made to create some flexible
forms of participation which will engage a variety of
people with different skills. As Professor Jessica Corner
of the Institute of Cancer Research comments
“inhumanity is enshrined in the hospital system; it
is reflected in the myriad incidents of carelessness
and seemingly trivial aspects of care that are
neglected.”110 In primary care there is a marked deficit
in engagement and accountability.
A similar exercise could be completed for staff
empowerment and involvement in decision-making. The
‘top-down’ model of management has served to
demotivate NHS staff and restrict creativity. The state has
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Patient support groups
Consultation and community
Two-way Provision of
Expert Patient programme
Involvement in delivery
of service
National Institute for Clinical
Excellence, Citizens Council
Patient Advocacy & Liaison
Service in each hospital
Commission for Patient and
Public Involvement in Health
Patient Forums
Carer Support Workers
Volunteering: League of
Friends etc
Healthy Living Centres
Stakeholder councils and
governance models
Health Panels
Non-executive directors
Primary care
Direct involvement in
decision making over policy
or resource use
Primary Care Trusts
Acute hospitals/
Foundation hospitals
Level of participation
Table 6
Participation Matrix for Health
Citizen Juries/Panels
Neighbourhood Forums
(in New Deal for
Communities area)
Participatory Appraisal
Time banks
Healthy Living Centre
Neighbourhood Forums
Health Partnership Boards
New models of civic education
such as NEF’s ‘Democs’
Participatory Appraisal
Time banks
Participatory budgeting
Local Strategic Partnerships
Local governance
Local Strategic Partnerships
Social care co-operatives
involving users and staff
Broader health economy
5 New Mutuality: the patient role
Of course, participation in health services is only one
component of increasing the responsibility of individuals
for their own health. But a culture of mutuality helps to
set a tone quite distinct from that of NHS patients as
passive beneficiaries of someone else’s expertise.
Instead, as in the case of the friends and family of mental
health patients, the mutual ethos could affirm them as
partners, with a distinct contribution to make. Table 7 sets
out some of the different ways in which health and social
service professionals have traditionally treated them.
Only a mutual model starts to recognise their true value
in terms of health and well-being.
Moreover, the example of time banking demonstrates
ways in which health services can be re-engineered to
equip and enable people, with information, technology,
systems and incentives to play an active role in self
caring. The Department of Health now estimates that for
every £100 spent on encouraging self-care, around £150
worth of benefits can be delivered in return.112 If ideas of
public health disappeared into the mire and dilemmas of
tobacco sponsorship, mutual health models might offer
one way back to a system promoting well-being rather
than treating sickness.
Both in Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and the more
contemporary ‘human needs matrix’, being explored in
pilot research by NEF, well-being is a function not simply
of physical capacity but of a wider sense of flourishing
going well beyond health as traditionally defined.113 The
needs that underpin well-being are universal, but the
ways in which they are satisfied will vary over time and
across cultures. The implication is that tomorrow’s health
policy needs to be as focused on issues that shape wellbeing such as identity, participation and idleness/renewal,
as on the symptoms of physical health. An example is the
proposal made by the National Heart Forum for a
national plan for children’s and young people’s health
and well-being, covering the breadth of issues required to
improve nutrition, cut smoking and increase
physical activity.
The Mutual Health Service
Table 7
Four Ways of Seeing Friends and Family
of Mental Health Sufferers
Innocent secondary victims
Dysfunctional, as contributors to
mental illness
A resource, for example for
supervising medication
Table 8
Health Rather than Sickness? The human needs matrix114
1. Existing
(survival – living)
2. Co-existing
(community – living together)
3. Developing
(renewal – flow – vitality)
4. Flourishing
(fulfilment – spirituality)
5 New Mutuality: the patient role
And while no more than one in four adults today are
classified as being informed and proactive around their
own health, there are strong signs that this is on the rise.
There are already 10,000 health information websites.
Health-related goods and services are also growing fast,
with sales of homeopathic medicines rising at 5% per
annum (alongside huge sales of traditional
pharmaceuticals) and health and fitness clubs at 11%
per annum.115
But even with personalised approaches, individually
focussed interventions (such as taking responsibility on
smoking) have been shown in a worldwide review to
influence the behaviour of between 3% and 20% of the
populations who engage in them. Approaches that focus
on the social context, building participation, for example,
can influence 25% to 50% or more of those taking part.116
Mutual approaches may, therefore, be the most effective
way of supporting people to take responsibility for
their health.
There is a huge amount of evidence on tokenism in this
area, especially in the context of black and ethnic
minority group representation in participatory efforts. The
role of intermediary community based organisations may
be critical to the success of the mutual approach. These
are playing a growing role, for example, in helping to
reduce hospital admissions – such as in Bath where Age
Concern provides ‘home from hospital’ services and in
Scunthorpe, where patients can call on community-based
support after being discharged early from hospital.117
Community development experience suggests that one
important aspect of stakeholder involvement, that
engenders the trust of all parties, is the ability to voice
dissent, to criticise. Dissent is a very powerful tool for
change, especially if it is constructive and there is scope
for skills and self-esteem training to enable patients to
engage in critical appraisal.
5.4 The importance of participation
All the evidence is that mutuality requires participation to
make it real, and that participation can make a major
difference to people’s experience of the NHS, to their
health and to the cost of curing people and keeping them
healthy. Yet despite the rhetoric in the new NHS Plan,
shifting power from central to local, there is no
The Mutual Health Service
corresponding ambition to decentralise power to the
ultimate consumers of health services. And in particular,
despite a range of innovative experiments in minor forms
of health participation, there have been no experiments –
as far as we have been able to discover – to devolve any
budget-holding responsibility to patients.
There clearly needs to be considerably more
experimentation – preferably in long-term, adaptable
projects at the heart of Primary Care Trusts – with deeper
forms of participation that can take the NHS beyond
simply inviting patients onto committees. These
experiments need to test out the need for training, the
ways to engage people across ethnic and socio-economic
groups, how far it is possible to go handing budgetary
control over to local patients, and in other lay-led
management, so that patients can be encouraged to set
the local health agenda, rather than simply participate in
projects that are handed down by professionals or
administrators. They should include staff just as much as
patients – in many instances they are just as excluded
and unheard.
More specifically, these experiments could lead up to a
duty on PCTs, written into contracts, to involve clients as
equal partners in the delivery of health. There should be
guidelines about how this should be achieved, and
handbooks for off-the-shelf solutions that can be adapted
for any neighbourhood – but exactly how this duty
should be met must be left open to encourage innovation.
It might, for example, include a participation role for
dedicated staff in a PCT, or perhaps a new role for health
visitors, or time banks in GP surgeries – or a range of
other possibilities outlined earlier in the report. It might
also include a time bank attached to all hospitals to make
sure that hospital discharges are planned properly, and
there are volunteers to make sure people settle in back
at home.
That means that health professionals need to be trained
in the purpose and techniques of participation as part of
their undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, and at
other levels of training. There also needs to be wider
dissemination of how participation can cut costs in the
NHS, and better championship of the ideas of partnership
inside the professions.118
Vision and Conclusion
The NHS has been called the national religion. There is a great deal of goodwill towards it. At the same time, there is
an evident need for reform and improvement. Foundation Trusts are a step in the right direction. More now needs to
be done.
In the longer term, mutuality may be the key to reforming the NHS, because it provides a chance to break the log-jam
between public and private that has beset public services for the past half century. Mutuality provides a new
conceptual framework and a method of innovation in health delivery, which allows for a focus on the broader
determinants of health inequalities and impact. It can provide an answer to tough questions – how do you motivate a
sense of public service in an entrepreneurial culture and how do you provide accountability in a vast public
bureaucracy? If mutual structures provide potential answers, they can reach out across the political divide.
The time is right for this idea. Devolution, and the different approaches to the NHS that this has engendered, and the
creation of PCTs focusing on public health and primary care locally is shifting interest towards a wider constellation
of health-care and improvement than an NHS universe that revolves around acute hospital-based medicine. At the
same time, mutuality will require further culture change to allow it to take root and be sustainable. Above all,
mutuality must come to underpin a new kind of professionalism – not the aloof kind that was encouraged by a
central NHS bureaucracy, nor the accounting kind that has grown up as an accretion along with certain privatisations,
but something different.
This is a new professionalism that is aware of its vital role in people’s lives, but also its dependence on ordinary
people too. A mutual NHS is an inter-dependent NHS, and that provides a re-working of its founding spirit that
wouldn’t be out of place in the 21st century.
We wish to thank David Boyle (Senior Associate, NEF),
and Geraint Day (Health and Environment Policy Adviser,
IoD) for their contributions to this publication.
Responsibility for the text and any mistakes are ours, but
thanks are also due to Sarah Burns (Time Banks, NEF),
Lisa Christensen (Director, Social Services, Norfolk)
Professor Chris Ham (DoH), Graeme Leach (Chief
Economist, IoD), Patricia Peter (Corporate Governance
Executive, IoD), Chris Pierce (Deputy Director of Director
Development, IoD), Dr Anne Marie Rafferty (Director,
Centre for Policy in Nursing Research & Head of Health
Services Research Unit, Department of Public Health &
Policy, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine),
Tony Renton (formerly Deputy Director of Professional
Standards, IoD), Dr Robin Stott and Andrea Westall
(Deputy Director, NEF) for advice or comments, or both,
on specific parts of the draft text.
How to decentralise the NHS
1 Both the Institute of Directors (IoD) and
the New Economics Foundation (NEF)
have an interest and have done work
in this area. For example, our
publications that cover some of the
ground have so far been:
• Healthcare in the UK: the need for
reform, Policy Paper, by Ruth Lea,
February 2000,
revised June 2000 (IoD);
• Healthcare in the UK: the need for
reform, Economic Comment, by Ruth
Lea, October 2000 (IoD);
• Management, Mutuality and Risk:
Better Ways to Run the National Health
Service, Research Paper, by Geraint
Day, October 2000 (IoD);
• New paths for the provision of
healthcare. Comment, by Geraint Day,
July 2001 (IoD);
• Report of a Survey of Views on
Healthcare Provision, Healthcare
Provision Policy Study Group, by
Geraint Day, October 2001 (IoD);
• The Mutual State How Local
Communities Can Run Public Services,
by Ed Mayo and Henrietta Moore,
2001 (NEF),
• Putting the Life Back into Our Health
Services, by Sarah Burns, David Boyle,
Karina Krogh, 2002 (NEF).
• Building the Mutual State, edited by Ed
Mayo and Henrietta Moore, May 2002
(NEF and Mutuo).
2 Although there is still a purchaserprovider split for secondary
3 See The Future of the NHS, King’s
Fund, London, January 2002 and
“Winging it”, Steve Dewar & Sir Cyril
Chantler, Health Service Journal,
14 March 2002, pp 24-27.
4 New Labour New Life for Britain
[1997 General Election manifesto],
Labour Party, London, 1997, for
example p 6. Interestingly, in the
recently revised Fabian Society
rulebook, rule 2 reads: “… seeks to
promote where appropriate the social
and co-operative ownership
ofeconomic resources. It argues for
strong and accountable public
institutions …”.
5 “Patients’ champion for every
hospital”, Anthony Browne & Gaby
Hinsliff, The Observer, 23 July 2000.
6 “Virgin team highlights NHS
shambles”, John Carvel,
The Guardian, 22 July 2000.
7 “On target to achieve nothing”, John
Seddon, The Observer,
27 August 2000.
8 The Tyranny of Numbers, David
Boyle, HarperCollins, London, 2001.
9 For background, see for example the
British Deming Association
home page:
10 A New Way to Govern, Shann
Turnbull, NEF, London, 2002.
11 “Admin’s not sexy – just vital”, Simon
Caulkin, The Observer, 21 April 2002.
The Mutual Health Service
12 Delivering the NHS Plan next steps
on investment next steps on reform,
Presented to Parliament by the
Secretary of State for Health, Cm
5503, The Stationery Office, Norwich,
April 2002, para. 3, p 3.
13 The NHS Plan A plan for investment
A plan for reform, Cm 4818-I, Crown
Copyright, The Stationery Office,
Norwich, July 2000, p 30, para. 2.31.
14 “Cash flows into NHS, delivery
another matter”, Sylvia Pfeifer, The
Business, 21/22 April 2002.
15 “Health and social care”, epxNews,
18 April 2002. In the Government’s
Comprehensive Spending Review
2002 the private sector was assumed
to have a constant 1.2% proportion
of GDP for the financial years 20022003 to 2007-2008.
16 Gallery News, 17 April 2002.
17 Alan Milburn, speech at a New
Health Network event, London, 15
January 2002.
18 “The New Localism”: Speech by the
Chief Economic Adviser, Ed Balls to
the Chartered Institute of Public
Finance and Accountancy annual
conference, 12 June 2002.
19 For example, “A tough question at
the heart of the third way”, Nicholas
Timmins, Financial Times, 29 July
2002, and “In the public interest”,
editorial, op. cit., 5 August 2002.
20 “First person: Nigel Crisp”, Business
Voice, June 2002, p 16.
21 Divergence and Devolution?, Greer,
Nuffield Trust, 2001.
22 “Rise in NI [National Insurance]
payments will cost public sector
£1.2bn”, George Jones & Andrew
Sparrow, The Daily Telegraph, 23
April 2002.
23 "Costing dear", Danny Lee, Health
Service Journal, 2 May 2002,
pp 12-13.
24 For example the Confederation of
British Industry has commented that
businesses could be convicted when
they have no reasonable way of
anticipating or reducing the risk, and
state bodies such as prisons and
NHS trusts would have immunity:
“Dying for action: Five people a
week die in workplace incidents”,
Oliver Robinson, Guardian Office
Hours, The Guardian,
12 August 2002.
25 Policy, Labour Party, April 2002.
26 “Nurse, is it still breathing?”, Anne
Burns, Human Resources, July 2000,
pp 46-51.
27 “Blair’s £40bn gamble on IT”,
Michael Cross, The Guardian, 25
April 2002.
28 “Hearing voices", Judith Allsop,
Health Service Journal, March 2002,
pp 28-29.
29 "Powers of observation", Donna
Bradshaw & Kieran Walshe, Health
Service Journal, 18 April 2002,
pp 28-29.
30 “When worlds collide”, Matt Muijen,
Health Service Journal, 17 January
2002, p 18.
31 Local Delivery of Central Policy,
Better Regulation Task Force, Cabinet
Office, London, July 2002. It quoted
an executive of a Regional
Development Agency in England as
saying, “For the last 3 months I’ve
been involved in nothing but navel
contemplation. Shortly we are
actually going to stop doing
anything apart from reporting on
ourselves” (ibid., p 41, section 9.5).
32 Brave New Economy, NEF, London,
February 2000, CD-ROM.
33 “Mutuality”, Dr Bob James, May
2000, at
He argues that this equality holds:
no matter what the legally
sanctioned position held by any
individual within the group might
be; no matter what the length or kind
of membership or contribution of
any member might be; no matter
what financial arrangements may be
entered into to raise capital; and no
matter what administrative
arrangements may be entered into to
enhance the expertise of the group.
34 See the International Co-operative
Alliance website, at
35 Some Useful Statistics, Co-operative
Union Ltd, October 2001. See also
summary_stats.htm. There are also
many examples of mutual social care
models. These include West
Midlands Co-operative Society,
which runs care homes for elderly
people. There are many Italian social
care co-ops – in Northern Italy in
particular. Some of these are run by
the employees or by employees and
volunteers, including relatives of
those in receipt of care. These are
really types of worker (or producer)
co-operative. A third type is a
community co-operative, with a
wider membership and with mutual
benefits to the community at large.
They are organised as
democratically controlled businesses
but with some state subsidy. Both
the legal and political context in Italy
(Northern Italy in particular) have
historically been more conducive to
the formation of co-operatives in
general. A mutual model for UK
long-term care is being worked up,
funded by the DoH, and the Cooperative Insurance Society, and
backed by The Co-operative Bank,
West Midlands Co-operative Society
and Cobbetts solicitors.
36 Social Enterprise: a strategy for
success, Department of Trade and
Industry, London,
July 2002.
37 The State of Community
Development Finance 2001, Sam
Collin et al, NEF, London, 2001.
38 The Mutual State: how local
communities can run public services,
Ed Mayo and Henrietta Moore, NEF,
London, 2001.
39 Ibid.
40 Value Led, Market Driven: social
enterprise solutions to public policy
goals, Andrea Westall, IPPR, 2001.
41 For example, A Mutual Trend: How
to run rail and water in the public
interest, Johnston Birchall, NEF,
2002. See also The New Mutualism
in Public Policy, edited by Johnston
Birchall, Routledge, London, 2001.
42 Managing for Health, David Hunter,
Institute for Public Policy Research
(IPPR), London, 1999, referred to in
Healthcare in the UK: the need for
reform, revised edition, IoD Policy
Paper, Ruth Lea, IoD, London, June
2000, note 16 on p 94.
43 Adapted from “Social Enterprise”,
presentation by Ed Mayo at “The
Citizen State” conference organised
by the Gorbals Initiative, Glasgow, 23
May 2002.
44 The idea of changing the NHS into a
system where the state still provides
most of the funds but the delivery of
healthcare is devolved as much as
possible was proposed by Ruth Lea.
She suggested that healthcare in the
UK be delivered by self-governing
mutuals rather than by a vast array
of public bodies that are all
supposedly responsible to the
Secretary of State for Health. This
idea was further explored in the
Autumn of 2000 in a Research Paper
produced by Geraint Day of the IoD’s
Policy Unit: Management, Mutuality
and Risk: Better Ways to Run the
National Health Service, IoD
Research Paper, Geraint Day, IoD,
London, October 2000. The concept
of the Mutual Health Service was
floated in The Mutual State by Ed
Mayo and Henrietta Moore which set
out the scope for mutuals and nonprofit bodies to take a far wider role
in public service provision (The
Mutual State: how local communities
can run public services, NEF,
London, 2001). The findings from a
website-based project were
published as Building the Mutual
State, edited by Ed Mayo & Henrietta
Moore, NEF and Mutuo, London,
May 2002.
45 “The recipe for mutual success”,
John Kay, Financial Times,
9 August 2000.
46 For example, the Black report on
Inequalities in Health, which was
commissioned by the Callaghan
government, showed how universal
rights to health and relatively equal
outcomes in health were not
occurring in the 1970s. Sir Douglas
Black’s report was the most
comprehensive enquiry into the
health of the nation in the post-war
period. The Black report showed that
men and women in unskilled
households had a two and a half
times greater chance of dying before
retirement age than their
professional counterparts. The report
also showed that for infants the
mortality rate among unskilled
households and the poor was three
and a half times higher than for
professionals. Moreover, evidence in
the Black report showed that this
gross inequality in health (both
morbidity and mortality) had
reverted to a similar state to that
prevailing at the turn of the century
when highlighted by Seebohm
Rowntree. See Prevention: a key
component of physician training?
Alberti, G, Ph Com. The Newsletter
of the Faculty of Public Health
Medicine, Vol 3 No. 3:6, 2002.
Unhealthy Societies – the Afflictions
of Inequality, Richard Wilkinson,
This concept was pioneered by the
radical economist James Robertson.
See, for example, Transforming
Economic Life, James Robertson,
NEF/Schumacher Society, 1999.
Policy watch, Jann Bettinga, The
Guardian, Wednesday October 9,
The Courage of Our Convictions:
why reform of the public services is
the route to social justice, Tony Blair,
Fabian Society, London, September
2002, p 31.
Quality, Innovation, Choice, Report
of the Public Services Policy
Commission, Liberal Democrats,
Paper 53, 2002.
Where Now for New Labour?,
Anthony Giddens, Fabian Society,
Polity Press, Cambridge,
2002, pp 54-68.
Ibid, p65
organisations, IPPR, London, 2002.
The Case for the Public Interest
Company: A New Form of Enterprise
for Public Service Delivery, Paul
Corrigan, Jane Steele & Greg
Parstons, Public Management
Foundation, London, 2001.
The New Shape of Public Services,
Volume 1: Health & Education, Dr
Eamonn Butler & Dr Madsen Pirie,
Adam Smith Institute, London,
2001, p 18.
Welfare and the Consumer Society
New Opportunities for the Third
Way, Professor Nigel Waite, The
Canford Centre for Customer
Development, for the Association of
Friendly Societies, London,
September 2001.
Public, Private or Community: What
Next for the NHS?, Chris Ham,
Demos, London, 1996.
Towards a More Co-operative
Society, Stephen Pollard, Terry
Liddle & Dr Bill Thompson,
How to decentralise the NHS
Independent Healthcare Association,
London, 1994.
Professor Alyson Pollock of
University College London, quoted in
“Mutuals ‘are return to pre-1948’”,
Tash Shifrin, Health Service Journal,
31 January 2002, pp 6-7.
“Blair’s warning angers unions”,
Patrick Wintour, The Guardian, 4
February 2002.
David G. Green: Working Class
Patients and the Medical
Establishment: Self-Help in Britain
from the Mid-Nineteenth Century to
1948, Gower, Aldershot, 1985.
A Century of Medical Service,
Bernard Darwin, Great Western
Railway Medical Fund Society,
Swindon, 1947, reprinted by the
Health Hydro Management
Committee of the Borough of
Thamesdown [now Swindon],
October 1991.
Citizenship, Work and Welfare, Julia
Parker, 1998. A further example of
beneficial central initiative is in the
case of negotiations on price with
the large drugs companies, where
pooling the purchasing power of
NHS Trusts and perhaps even
hospitals abroad, can keep a lid
on costs.
“Milburn’s ‘Railtrack of the NHS’”,
John Carvel & Michael White, The
Guardian, 16 January 2002.
Economics, Medicine and Health
Care, second edition, Gavin Mooney,
Harvester Wheatsheaf, Hemel
Hempstead, 1992, p 103.
There is an analogy here with the
Operating and Financial Review for
“economically significant
companies” (roughly speaking,
public companies with an annual
turnover of more than £50 million or
private companies exceeding £500
million a year) to address
opportunities and threats in a
qualitative as well as quantitative
way. This could include relationships
with employees, suppliers and the
wider community, where considered
relevant. This is expected to become
a legal requirement in 2003,
although the details have yet to be
worked out following the
deliberations around the
Government’s Company Law White
Paper, Modernising Company Law,
Command Paper Cm 5553, Presented
to Parliament by the Secretary of
State for Trade and Industry by
Command of Her Majesty July 2002,
HMSO, Norwich, July 2002.
What’s Trust Worth, Alex
MacGillivray, NEF, London, 2002.
The Health and Social Care Act 1990
provides the legal framework for
NHS Trusts. The Act empowers the
Secretary of State to establish bodies
‘to assume responsibility … for the
ownership or management of
hospitals … or to provide and
manage hospitals’. This was
subsequently expanded to include
other related healthcare services.
While subject to a range of
limitations, including the scope for
the Secretary of State to intervene in
or close failing Trusts, the Act states
that each Trust is a body corporate
and that NHS Trusts are independent
and the Trust is not a servant or
agent of either the Crown or the
Department of Health.
From a speech in January 2002 by
Alan Milburn. Taken from Press
Release 2002/0022, DoH, London.
See Press Release 2002/0240, DoH, at
press.nsf/page/20020240?OpenDocument. The IoD
produced a document, Management,
Mutuality and Risk: Better Ways to
Run the National Health Service, IoD
Research Paper, Geraint Day, IoD,
London, October 2000 which also
refers to overseas experience,
including reference to a definitive
United Nations survey published in
1997, of healthcare mutuals
worldwide, including organisations
that provide healthcare, fund
healthcare or do both: Cooperative
Enterprise in the Health and Social
Care Sectors A Global Survey,
United Nations, New York, 1997.
From the text of the NHS Foundation
Hospitals speech delivered by the
Secretary of State for Health, the Rt.
Hon. Alan Milburn MP,
on 22 May 2002.
The Company Director’s Guide, Tony
Renton & John Watkinson, Kogan
Page, London, for the IoD, 2001,
pp 21-22.
Company Law White Paper,
Modernising Company Law,
Command Paper Cm 5553, Presented
to Parliament by the Secretary of
State for Trade and Industry by
Command of Her Majesty July 2002,
HMSO, Norwich, July 2002.
The Company Director’s Guide, Tony
Renton & John Watkinson, Kogan
Page, London, for the IoD,
2001, pp 3-18.
The UK is not alone in such debates:
it is interesting to note that in
Poland, following recent health
service reforms in which local
government owns the local
hospitals, it is unclear whether
managers have the right to sell or to
close facilities or to sell assets: see
“Tackling high male mortality in
Poland. Proposals for reform”,
Jesse Selber, Eurohealth,
Spring 2002, pp 23-25.
The implication of non-profit
distribution here is that the surplus
or profit generated cannot be
distributed to the owners of the
organisation. In other words, all of it
will be reinvested back into the
activities of the Trust. This is the
general definition of a ‘not-for-profit’.
It does not mean “losing money”.
For many organisations this is
appropriate because they can fund
their operations or growth from
internal revenues or from accessing
debt finance from external finance
Adapted from an Annex in the
forthcoming Performance and
Innovation Unit (PIU) report.
The Public Interest Company as a
mechanism to improve service
delivery, Charles Brecher, Public
Management Foundation, London,
April 2002.
Criteria for NHS Boards Good
Practice for Directors, IoD in
collaboration with the NHS
Executive, the then National
Association of Health Authorities and
Trusts, and the then NHS Trust
Federation, London, 1996.
The NHS Appointment Commission
document, Induction Guide for
Chairs and Non-Executive Directors
has been commended by George
Cox, IoD Director General (see “How
to Help NHS Reform”, George Cox,
IoD News, August 2002, p 3).
See The Effective Director, edited by
Chris Pierce, Kogan Page, London,
2001. See also The Chartered
Director Code of Professional
Conduct, IoD, London.
The Effective Director, edited by
Chris Pierce, Kogan Page, London,
2001, p 41.
“Power to the consumer is in
everyone’s interest”, Gareth Thomas,
The Co-operative News,
21 April 2001, p 6.
A Mutual Trend: How to run rail and
water in the public interest, Johnston
Birchall, NEF, 2002.
Building the Mutual State, edited by
Ed Mayo & Henrietta Moore, NEF
and Mutuo, London, May 2002.
House of Commons Health
Committee on 12 June 2002 (from
paragraph 40).
For instance the Group Health
Cooperative, Washington State,
USA. See
“Is this the last chance for public
services?”, David Aaronovitch, The
Independent, 17 July 2002.
“When too much care can be bad for
your health” John E. Wennberg,
New Scientist, 17 August 2002, p 26.
“NHS to be given equity in new joint
ventures”, Nicholas Timmins,
Financial Times, 8 June 2001.
92 These could include dental,
pharmacy and social services and
possibly so-called intermediate care
facilities intended for short-stay
patients. The Trust will co ordinate
matters centrally, helping to buy out
premises leases and remove general
medical practitioners and dentists
who have negative equity. It will also
provide assistance with project
management. These new forms of
PPP were planned to commence
initially in Barnsley, Camden and
Islington, Sandwell, Newcastle and
North Tyneside, East London and the
City, and there is to be a joint
initiative in Manchester, Salford and
Trafford, although it is expected to
take up to the third quarter of 2003
before the new facilities are in place.
Up to 500 such primary care PPPs
are planned in all.
93 There are several equity vehicles
developing which are designed as
social venture capital where there
are both limited returns and an
acknowledgement that control rights
would not be given in the company.
Some social enterprises have
adopted company limited by shares
format in order to make use of social
or mainstream venture capital. In
this case they are often designed so
that the majority shareholding is by
the core stakeholders (with or
without any distribution of surplus to
them) so that control is maintained
by them but that small equity stakes
are available for finance providers
but which may have no or limited
voting rights for example through
preference shares.
94 “Tories inspired by German health
service”, David Chater, The Times,
10 July 2002.
95 This would require detailed
agreement about expected savings.
It would require some kind of
agreement with the funder, and
maybe agreement that is
underwritten by central government
– and some idea of how long is
needed to recoup investment with a
reasonable interest added – so that
the savings are shared between the
funder and the investor.
96 Enterprising Communities: Wealth
Beyond Welfare, Social Investment
Task Force, Social Investment Forum
with New Economics Foundation
and Development Trusts Association,
London, 2000.
97 The Prince’s Trust, for example,
operates a social performance
contract with the Department for
Work and Pensions (DWP) to support
young people finding employment.
Targets of the numbers of young
people to be helped into
employment are set annually, based
on agreement between DWP and
Prince’s Trust. The Trust provides
business support, mentoring and
start-up financial awards – primarily
The Mutual Health Service
business loans – to eligible youth as
part of their normal programme
activities. Lump sum ‘outcome’
payments are made by DWP to
Prince’s Trust on a quarterly basis for
each young person provided with an
award. The DWP’s aim is to assist
people find long-term
unemployment. That’s why an
additional ‘survival’ payment is
made to Prince’s Trust for every
individual who is still employed
trading after 12 months. This
provides an added incentive for
Prince’s Trust to provide high quality
support. This kind of funding from
the performance contract with DWP
represents a secure and stable
source of revenue. It delivers both
results and ultimately the best use of
scarce public funds.
98 See Healthcare in the UK: the need
for reform, revised edition, IoD
Policy Paper, Ruth Lea, IoD, London,
June 2000, pp 91-92 (this point was
also included in the earlier edition of
February 2000).
99 It issues guidance to local authorities
and health authorities on all aspects
of service commissioning, provision,
regulation and inspection in the
social care and health fields. Its
guidance includes regulation of the
providers of domiciliary care,
national standards for residential
care homes, and national service
frameworks for mental health and
older people’s services. The
Department is responsible for the
Social Services Inspectorate, which
works with the Audit Commission to
regulate Social Service Authorities.
100 This would include submission of
accounts and annual returns and any
additional specified documentation,
including a copy of the external
auditor’s management letter. But it
would also include an annual social
report, to report on healthcare and
healthcare outcomes. Such models
of social reporting, pioneered by the
New Economics Foundation, are
now quite widely practiced in the
private sector. A variety of inspection
mechanisms can also be used. The
most thorough is likely to be at the
point of registration.
101 These might include statutory rights:
to appoint board members or
remove board members or officers
during or following an inquiry
(although this should be used only
in extremis, for it would act against
the principles of devolved
governance which we have been
advocating); to direct a merger or
transfer assets following an inquiry:
another historical power, which has
been used from time to time; to take
action where insolvency threatens;
to direct recovery of unlawful
payments and benefits; to require
production of documents; to disclose
information to other statutory
102 Chris Ham, Public, Private or
Community: What next for the
NHS? Demos, London, 1996.
103 Prevention: a key component of
physician training?” Alberti, G, Ph
Com. The Newsletter of the Faculty
of Public Health Medicine, Vol 3
Number 3:6, 2002.
104 Derek Wanless Securing Our Future
Health: Taking a Long-Term View,
HM Treasury, London, April 2002.
105 Funny Money: in search of
alternative cash, David Boyle,
HarperCollins, London, 1999.
106 The Time of Our Lives: summary of
two-year research consultation, Gill
Seyfang, Time Banks UK/NEF, 2002.
See also, Putting the Life Back into
Our Health Services, Sarah Burns,
David Boyle, Karina Krogh, NEF,
London, 2002.
107 Citizenship, Work and Welfare, Julia
Parker, Basingstoke, Macmillan;
St Martin's Press, New York, 1998.
108 Putting the Life Back into Our Health
Services, Sarah Burns, David Boyle,
Karina Krogh, NEF, London, 2002.
109 Perceptions of Partnership: a
documentary analysis of Health
Improvement Programmes, Elson J
and Fulop N, Public Health: 207-213,
2002. See also “CityNet Partnership
Evaluation” Pre-publication Working
Paper, Pamela Gillies and
Pennington, University of
Nottingham, 2002.
110 Corner, Jessica, Queen Elizabeth the
Queen Mother Fellowship Lecture,
Between You and Me: Closing the
Gap between People and Health
Care, delivered at The Royal Society
of Arts, London, Wednesday 20 June
2001, See
also Angela Coulter, The
Autonomous Patient, John Fry
Fellowship, forthcoming, 2002,
Nuffield Trust.
111 Optimising Value: the motivation of
doctors as managers in the NHS,
Jane Steele & Alison Graham, Public
Management Foundation, London,
August 2001.
112 Derek Wanless, Securing Our Future
Health: Taking a Long-Term View,
HM Treasury, London, April 2002.
113 Well-Being, Ed Mayo & Nic Marks,
unpublished, New Economics
114 Ibid.
115 McKinsey & Co, Expectations of the
2020 UK Healthcare System, in
Health Trends Review: proceedings
of a conference, Barbican Centre,
London,18/19 October 2001,
116 “Effectiveness of Alliances and
Partnerships for Health Promotion”,
Gillies P A, Health Promotion
International, Vol 13, No. 2:
p 99-120, 1998.
117 Intermediate Care Models in
Practice, King’s Fund, London,1999.
118 See, for example, The medical
profession, the public, and the
government, Chris Ham and K G M
M Alberti, British Medical Journal,
2002; 324: 838-842.
The NHS has been called the national religion
But command and control management is
failing badly
Mutuality shows the way to decentralise and
involve patients
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